Saturday, March 13, 2010

Freeway Chicken

About a year ago I was driving to my main office, from Fresno to Madera, California.  I was headed north on Highway 99, a north-south "freeway" with two northbound lanes of heavy traffic and two southbound lanes running through the middle of the San Joaquin Valley.  The northbound and southbound lanes of this arterial highway are divided by a large dirt center median with oleander bushes running shoulder-to-shoulder down the center of the center median.  During the times of the year when the oleanders are in bloom, it's quite colorful driving up and down the Highway 99.

This part of California is farming country, and mostly what you see as you drive through here are grape vineyards, fruit orchards, and nut orchards.  A lot of the farms have your typical menagerie of farm animals, like chickens.  As I was headed north on the 99, between the Avenue 9 on ramp and the Avenue 12 off ramp, right in the middle of the center median on the east side (northbound lanes), just clucking along and pecking contendedly away at the seeds and chicken-feed bounty in the dirt, was a red-feathered chicken.

I chuckled and shook my head and thought to myself "that chicken isn't long for this world."  Well, over the past year I've seen that same chicken periodically in the same general area of the freeway median, and I've thought to myself: "Chicken, you're either really lucky, or you're smarter than I gave you credit for, or some higher power has your red-feathered back."

I headed for Madera this morning after a brief visit with Sue up in SAMC room 310.  Right after I hit the 99 North off the Avenue 9 on ramp I saw that freeway chicken again, contentedly pecking it's freeway chicken-feed, and thought about Sue.  If that dang freeway chicken can defy the odds, why can't she?


  1. I agree, why can't Sue!

    I love reading your blog, I can picture the things you describe and feel the emotion you put into it. I hope this blog has been therapeutic for you. It has kept me informed of how you and Sue are doing.

    Christopher and I pray for Sue and you guys every night.

    God Bless You, Sue, and your family.

  2. You really had me wondering as I was reading! I kept envisioning this poor chicken... well... it wasn't good. I'm sure glad she's surviving. Whew!

    I'm glad Sue is hanging in there, too. (Although you haven't mentioned how she's been doing the last few days... ahem.) Though I don't really know her, I've come to believe that she's a very courageous and strong woman. With her will to live, with all the love of her family and friends, and with all the prayers that have gone up on her behalf, I believe that anything is possible.

    God knows what's in the plan. He's giving you what you need for each day. I thank Him for all that courage, strength, will to live, love, and all the pray-ers on her behalf. He'll give you what's best. I know He will.

    I'm still wondering, though... why did that chicken cross the road???

  3. Sue has defyed the odds all ready with her strength, dignity, courage and humor. She is an amazing lady and even last night as we visited she taught us something new we didn't know. As we always say "Sue knows everything and don't argue" but that is one of the reasons we love her.

    Grandma G the chicken crossed the road to get to the Oleander bushs. If you would come see us you could see the bushes and learn the reason why they were planted. Then the story of George's "dang freeway chicken" would be much clerer and even more impressive.

    George I have seen that chicken and haveing grown up on a farm with a lot of chickens I am amazed that it is still there. What a great word picture you painted and how you tied it to Sue's on going fight.

    Very well done.

  4. Mark, you aren't even gonna tell us what Sue taught you?! I might need to know that someday! ;)

  5. I just recently found your blog. As the wife of a Multiple Myeloma patient, I can relate to Sue's struggles and what you are feeling. I am praying for your family.

  6. George, my sister-law blogged about their "road chickens" in Yuba City. It is on the January 26th post ( They just moved there from Huntington Beach...a slight change.

    Also, wanted to let you know that I have been thinking about you and your family. Praying that you guys will have a nice week.


  7. Hmmm now all I can think of when I hear about chickens is that Adam L. can butcher them when needed! Why WERE the oleandar bushes planted. I see them all the time. In the spring they are just dreamy. But arent they poisonous?