Growing up in rural Louisiana was filled with wild adventure, exploring deep woods, hunting and gathering. Out near the back of my family’s property under the tall pines was the chicken coop. My early childhood chore was to feed the hens and rooster. Running back the feed under a pale sun peaking through the trees, pine straw rustled beneath my feet. Railroad ties cinched down beehive shaped chicken wire encircling the raised coop. The hens had a nesting spot in a pale yellow painted box above the hay-strewn ground. There were three hens and an enormous rooster named Sunny. I had the sweetest brown hen: she would let me hold and pet her. She would almost purr like a cat, cooing and lying breakfast, lunch and dinner. I would pick her up and collect her brown eggs. While the hens were busy laying the most delicious eggs, Sunny would be puffing himself up clawing at the ground like a bull. The time came when Sunny would no longer allow me to enter the coop. He would screech and charge me at the entrance. Certainly Sunny would do great harm if given the chance, and then, he sealed his fate. My father chased him down and caught him by the throat. Axe in hand, down on the neck, whack right there on that old stump. Headless Sunny in all his bright red and orange glory ran completely mad around the yard. The sight of a huge headless rooster screaming, not willing to give up, is burned upon my memory. Funny I have no memory after Sunny’s beheading of the fate of those hens in their pale yellow box.
Artist, Painter & Dog Walker
Baltimore, Maryland, United States of America