My friend, Martha Hitt, gets together on a regular basis with a group of friends to play a game called Chickenfoot. All I know about the game is that it's played with dominoes.
I shudder when I think too long about chickens' feet!
Years ago when I was the director of a ministry in Lansing, Mich., I went with another minister friend of mine in search of some chickens for the farm that we had just acquired for our ministry.
He knew of some farmers near the church he used to serve at that raised all sorts of farm animals, including chickens, so we went looking.
The matriarch of this farm family was a crusty sort of woman, with a wickedly wry sense of humor. We told her about our ministry to troubled youth and adults and we shared with her that we wanted to stock our barnyard with a variety of animals as a means of therapy for the men.
She took us out into her barnyard and she sat down in a lawn chair. She then pointed across the way to some small buildings, and she told me to go to one of the sheds that she said housed all kinds of chickens and "grab me a couple."
I was not accustomed to this sort of life and livestock was something new to me. So, greenhorn that I was, I headed in the direction she pointed.
I looked in through the door of the shed and sure enough, there was a wide variety of feathered creatures in there. So I went in.
In an instant, I was attacked by two of the biggest and meanest roosters I had ever seen.
I turned and ran back the way I had come, and so did those roosters, right on my tail. One of them attacked me with these horribly vicious looking "chicken feet" with enormous spurs on them.
Those spurs tore my pants and bloodied my leg. I had been attacked by the Chicken Monster!
There sat the old farmer lady in her lawn chair just laughing her head off. And next to her was my minister friend. He wasn't coming to my aid, and he wasn't even praying for me. He was laughing right along with the farmer lady.
I was wounded by chicken feet!
That was a long time ago, and I have owned and cared for a number of chickens over the years at different times. But, I will never forget those chicken feet.
I will probably never play that dominoes game. The name kind of scares me!
Now, I have another friend, Marie Lane, who is called "The Chicken Whisperer."
Marie and her husband live on a hilltop farm here in Bedford County. She has a whole bunch of peace loving chickens, sweet as they can be. I think they are sweet because Marie is so sweet to them.
Her chickens have names like Elvis, Priscilla and Jerry Lee. They come and sit in her lap and eat out of her hands. She talks to them like she talks to her friends.
I was out at her farm the other day and we walked out into her barnyard and fed the chickens. Not once did I feel threatened by her big old roosters. And yet I kept my eyes on their feet.
I don't know whatever happened to that old woman in Michigan with the devil-chickens. But, I'll tell you this, I sure like Marie's approach to livestock a whole lot better.
I can't imagine Marie siccing her chickens on a preacher either.
-- Doug Dezotell is the pastor of Mt. Lebanon UMC and Cannon UMC. He is a former staff writer for the Times-Gazette, and he is a husband, a father, a grandfather, and a friend to many. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.