When I started driving my Grand Cherokee last autumn, suddenly Grand Cherokees were everywhere: at the supermarket, on the highway, at the gym. Everywhere I looked, there they were. I donâ€™t know how I could have possibly missed the plethora of Grand Cherokees that have apparently existed around me all these years.
What I havenâ€™t missed, however, is the profusion of poultry that also populates my environment. Just like the automobile, my favorite domesticated bird (and yours) seems to be everywhere I turn. Not the actual animal, although that certainly is the case in my rural area. No, I mean artistic and artifactual representations of chickens. Their ubiquity brings to mind the rousing cry from that classic Dick Orkin American radio series, Chickenman, “Heâ€™s everywhere! Heâ€™s everywhere!â€ť
Chickens in My Backyard
Literally and figuratively. For instance, my family recently went camping just north of Benton Harbor (a lakeside Michigan town and also the name of Chickenmanâ€™s alter ego). On a morning run, I passed by a bearded man wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with a full-color rooster. I almost stopped and retraced my steps to ask if I could take a photo (I didnâ€™t). Toward the end of our vacation, we visited the Tri-Cities Historical Museum in nearby Grand Haven. One of the exhibits there was a battered old sign promoting tattooing and registering poultry with the state police.
I canâ€™t help but wonder how efficient this service was. I suspect that these tattoos frequently wound up in the bellies of the poultry thieves. Then, during a drop-off at an outdoor recycling center, I discovered a rubber chicken poking out of the bottles-and-cans bin.
I adopted it. Heâ€™s now on the boot bench in our garage.
Chickens Across America
But chickens, rubber or reproductions, arenâ€™t just a Michigan thing. My friend Rhoda posted a photo on social media of a rubber chicken she saw attached to a bicycle at a triathlon in Cleveland.
At an Omaha garden store, my husband, Jae, and I spent a quarter hour admiring a group of brightly hued metal roosters we found amongst the birdhouses and wind chimes, trying to figure out how to fit them into our car (we couldnâ€™t).
At the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, artist Katharina Fritschâ€™s giant blue rooster sculpture, â€śHahn/Cock,â€ť gazed down at visitors, including my friend Andy. â€śIt was so … blue! And big!â€ť he reported, amazed by the immense work of art.
Unexpected encounters are what makes finding chickens everywhere so entertaining. I never know where Iâ€™ll come across a poultry-shaped topiary or a bakery selling chicken-shaped sugar cookies. I was roaming a rose garden at Denmarkâ€™s Egeskov Castle when I came across a very whimsical statue of an armored weasel riding on the back of a rooster.
At Malmohus Castle in Sweden, a natural history exhibit inexplicablyâ€”and amusinglyâ€”featured feathered chicken costumes, one with a sash reading â€śMiss USA.â€ť
Itâ€™s gotten to the point that I now post these surprising fowl finds on my social media accounts with the hashtag #IFindChickensEverywhere. And I do … and Iâ€™m sure you do, too. Share your chicken finds: post your photos with this hashtag. Iâ€”and all our fellow chicken devoteesâ€”would love to see them.