In years past, terrorizing chickens was commonplace on a drive

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Another classic column from G. George Ostrom. This one is from Dec. 4, 1970...

How come nobody ever runs over a chicken anymore? Seems like when I was a kid, every time we went someplace we ran over a chicken. On many occasions, that was the most exciting thing to happen all day.

My grandmother on my mother’s side used to drive like Barney Oldfield and I liked to ride with her because she terrorized more chickens than anybody. Sometimes we’d be roarin’ down the country road in the old Model A, the dust would be rolling out behind, the fenders floppin’ and the radiator steamin’ and we’d hit a whole big flock of cackling, squawking chickens and the feathers would be flying all over the place, but not one would get killed. That was just some times.

My grandparents didn’t live on the county road, so no one ever ran over their chickens, but sometimes I stayed at the Argo’s ranch and they got several killed every week. There was lots of fried chicken and dumplings at the Argo’s.

I don’t know what happened, maybe folks can afford chicken wire fences now. Maybe those dumb birds are smarter than they used to be or maybe there aren’t as many chicken raisers per mile as their used to be.

I guess runnin’ over chickens has gone the way of penny postcards and collectin’ string.

It’s been 17 years more or less since I have seen a little bird we used to call a nuthatch.

He had an orange breast and wasn’t much bigger than a hummingbird. We always saw nuthatches with chickadees. Sometimes they could be seen in the hundreds on a balmy winter day.

Once, in 1938, I saw 17 different species of wild birds in one day at Hog Heaven. Last Sunday in the same place, I saw two kinds, three chickadees and some big black ravens. No woodpeckers (there used to be thousands), no jays (there used to be hundreds)… no nothing. Perhaps the “Silent Spring” is closer than we think… the “Silent Winter” is already here.

Has anyone ever wondered who is going to pay bonuses to war veterans if everybody quits smoking? I’ve had to start smokin’ several times just to be patriotic and now they’re thinking about renewing the state hacker’s tax again to pay a Viet Nam veteran’s bonus.

I don’t know how many more wars my old lungs can take. Why don’t we tax something more universal, like peanut butter or toilet paper?

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