Whatever happened to the Climax chickens?

Published 6:28 pm Tuesday, October 25, 2011

At the Golden Agers fish fry earlier this month, I was questioned like so: “Reporter,” (that among other things is what I am called around Climax) “What happened to Climax’s Foghorn Leghorn and Prissy the barn yard chickens?”

I replied, “I don’t know.” Another question: “Is there any of their descendants around town anywhere?” Again I replied, “I don’t know.”

“Well why not? Isn’t that your job? We miss the adventures of those chickens you wrote about,” I was told in no uncertain terms.

Feeling a little bit like a child being scolded, I said, “I will do a little research and see what I can come up with.” They replied, “That’ll have to do, but try harder.”

Now you have to understand I do love the people of Climax and this community or I would have gone by the wayside a long time ago. I was even anonymously given a chicken award at one of the club meetings a few years ago. Although, I suspect it was two precious ladies from the Golden Agers who gave me this wonderful gift.

However, this was a fellow last week who had his feathers ruffled, because he hadn’t heard from Foghorn in a year or two. So here goes, Sir.

For those of you who forgot or don’t know, a few years ago chickens began to show up on the streets of Climax. First, there were Abner and Henrietta, who married and started a home in a beautiful nest in the flower bed at the Post Office.

Postmaster Linda Harris and Assistant Postmaster Betty Thomas, with the help of Karen Toole, rescued Henrietta from a dangerous situation of being evicted with her little brood, leaving poor Abner walking the streets in search of his family.

Of course that was front page news in Climax, especially since at the same time, a mother- to-be duck in a nest at the federal building in Washington D.C. was receiving round-the-clock protection from the CIA. Why should Climax be any different?

Maybe I should explain now that Climax has a city ordinance that states no livestock is to be allowed to roam the streets. According to the city, chickens were livestock.

So, Abner went crowing along, looking for Henrietta. Then one day city maintenance worker Greg Toole and City Clerk Karen Toole’s daughter, Kaitlin, discovered her dog and a white rooster in the family pool. Both the rooster and little dog were exhausted when she rescued them, and she thought the rooster had drowned, but he survived.

Now you know someone can’t tell me a story like that and not expect to find the barn yard rooster Foghorn Leghorn and the farm dog! “I say, I say, old man, you almost got me there! What were, I say, what were you thinking?” Climax’s Foghorn Leghorn was born!

Stories of the adventures of Foghorn and Abner along Railroad Street filled my column for several weeks and months. Folks in town kept me informed on what was happening. Foghorn and Abner were going along fine — the kings of the roost so to speak. Foghorn thought he had escaped from cartoon land and Miss Prissy who was always trying to marry him. “Now I say, I say, look here, woman, I’m not, I say I’m not the marrying kind!” Can’t you hear him?

Then one day someone called me with the news that Miss Prissy had come to town and found Foghorn! Along Railroad Street, Mrs. Pearle Hamilton was thrilled to see the two together. “Now I say, I say woman, I told you!” Didn’t do any good for Foghorn to say this, Miss Prissy had made up her mind this time. Anyway, Foghorn got jealous of Abner and Abner had a run in and fight with a truck right in front of Mrs. Pearle’s kitchen window, making for a terrible experience for Mrs. Pearle and Miss Prissy.

So a marriage was arranged between the nearsighted Miss Prissy and Foghorn. “I say, I say, I reckon I do woman you ain’t gonna give up are you? I say, you kill, you just kill me!”

After a fall wedding, Foghorn and Prissy had the first of their family near Easter that next year. Mrs. Pearle was so excited as she gave me the good news. Together we watched the nest in her car garage.

The antics of Foghorn and Prissy went on for another year with adventures in the brambles along Railroad Street, and in Mrs. Pearle’s yard. The descendants of the Leghorns became so many that when they roosted in a tree in the Hamilton’s yard it looked like it had snowed in June as I watched them take flight to the tree limbs. By then I couldn’t tell which was Foghorn and which was Foghorn Jr. or the third or the fourth. There were chickens everywhere, and Mrs. Pearle loved them.

Complaints began to grow, with some stating white chickens had walked right through their front door. Others said they couldn’t enjoy their retirement and sleep late because of the crowing. Foghorn or no Foghorn, they were tired of those Climax Chickens!

While these complaints went on for a while no one did anything. They were afraid of hurting Mrs. Pearle if one chicken disappeared. If the chickens went all of a sudden it could cause her to have an attack, they reasoned.

So slowly and quietly, the Leghorn Climax chickens began to disappear. One day Mrs. Pearle even caught someone chasing them and she gave them a piece of her mind, but to no avail. The chickens continued to disappear until one day there were no more.

We reasoned this could have happened: Miss Prissy, being nearsighted, took the wrong turn and got caught up in a time frame and returned to the barnyard. Foghorn? Well we think he saw his sons taking over, so he returned to the barnyard on his own where he had a full henhouse and no one knew he had married Miss Prissy.

The barn yard dog began the chase, and Foghorn said, “I say, I say old man, it’s good to see you! Life in Climax is, well, I say, it is well, it is good, if you don’t get tricked into marrying that skinny woman with glasses!”

Listen, is that a distant “Cock-a-doodle-do?” I say could it be, I say could it be? Is one of Foghorn’s decendents on Drane Street or is that Madison?

Reporter’s note: I do know who brought Foghorn Leghorn and Miss Prissy to Climax, but my lips are sealed. I’ll never tell my source no matter how prominent they become.