Rita Howell’s Column

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Three-legged chicken special guest tonight of ‘Mr. Dave’

We newspaper folks hate it when we’re scooped by the TV news. It happened to us last week.
Rupert and I were watching the ten o’clock news on Channel 5 one night and Joe Birch reported that there is a three-legged chicken in Batesville, Mississippi.
Jennifer Karr, who delivers the mail on our Eureka route and raises chickens on the side, had sent photos to the TV station. Prior to that, however, she had brought photos by our office.
Somehow the pictures languished beneath a 21-page election contest petition, the 2008 Como town budget, and the results of North Delta’s fastpitch softball state tournament games.
So we missed the chance to introduce this special chicken to the world.
Jennifer had found an egg in an abandoned nest underneath a lawnmower at the home of her dad, Robert Brown, in the spring. It was still cool, and Jennifer said she was surprised to see a “pip” on the shell, indicating that the bird inside was still alive.
So she took it home and incubated it, and the chick hatched, through she didn’t notice until several days later that the bird had three legs.
From that day on, this fowl has received special treatment.
She is a BB Red bantam hen, and is now fully grown. Currently she is on exhibit at Brown’s Batesville Feed and Supply, where customers are invited to submit a suggestion for a name. So far ideas include: Lucky, Clucky, Henrietta, Hillary Clinton, Crazy Legs, and, my personal favorite, Tripod.
Observers will note that she has a calm personality, and will gently peck at a finger stuck through the wire cage. She has plenty of food and water, but Jennifer likes to slip her a piece of bread frequently.
The three-legged fowl apparently made such an impression on the Channel 5 news team that they have asked Jennifer to bring the bird to Batesville’s Kroger tonight when their weather guy Dave Brown is scheduled to be on hand to program weather radios for customers.
Of all the television weather prognosticators, Brown is my favorite. “Mistah Dave,” as he is referred to in reverential tones at my house, is the authority. If there’s threatening weather on the horizon, I want it straight from Mistah Dave.
I don’t go to bed at night without hearing his forecast so I’ll know whether to wear boots or sandals the next day.
Now, I don’t know if Jennifer Karr relies so heavily on Mistah Dave’s forecast, because it doesn’t matter, anyway, since “neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night” can stay her from the swift completion of her appointed rounds.
And even if it rains tonight, my appointed round will be to Kroger to see Mistah Dave and the chicken. They will be there from 5 to 7 p.m.

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