Why Did The Chickens Cross The Road?
By Liz Moulder
“Speaking of Spanish,” I told my neighbor as we strolled to a restaurant, “here’s what happened to a friend of mine who just moved to Ajijic. She bought a gorgeous house near the plaza with a swimming pool nestled into the back patio, made a lot of friends, and settled right into village life. She was especially pleased with the patio, perfect for her two enormous Newfoundland dogs with the combined weight of more than two hundred pounds.
She was delighted, almost enchanted when she was awakened her first morning in this new house by the crowing of a rooster. ‘Now this is Mexico!’ She thought as she blithely slid out of bed. In her new kitchen, she made coffee and gazed with admiration and awe. Bright sun slanted through the patio door as she fed the dogs, who looked around every bit as pleased as she was.
The second morning being awakened by the rooster was still fairly delightful. By the third morning the routine was beginning to lose its charm, and by the fourth morning she wanted to ring that rooster’s neck. However, after a few weeks she was able to sleep through the early morning wake-up calls and their morning ruckus faded into what we know and love as the general cacophony of Mexico.
Living nearby was an old Mexican man who kept a large number of chickens in his yard, including the rooster. She was amused by the chorus of ‘squawks’ when she passed his house and tried to differentiate the particular squawk belonging to her rooster.
One morning as she opened the patio doors to let the dogs outside she was surprised by the sight of two fat scruffy chickens blatantly swaggering around in circles in her patio while letting out an occasional squawk of disorientation.
The way she later described it to me was, ‘I had visions of the dogs devouring said chickens… I knew that fessing up to the responsibility of murder wouldn’t bode well. If the dogs ate them and I tried to hide it, with my luck I’d get caught. I’d take the dogs for a walk and one of them would have a chicken feather in its teeth or the other one would belch and out would float a feather.’
All of those complicated scenarios ran through her mind in an instant, but the dogs, upon spotting the chickens thought only two words, “one apiece! After she quickly locked the patio door, securing the dogs inside, she assessed the situation.
First, she figured that the chickens had somehow flown over the wall, maybe several walls. They had gotten in by hop-flying up the tree branches in the neighbor’s yard.
Secondly, she was pretty sure they belonged to the old Mexican with the yard full of poultry, poultry of all sizes and shapes, ages and temperaments. He spoke no English, but she had to return the chickens before they fell in the swimming pool or were eaten by the dogs. Karyn was smart and creative, so here’s how she proceeded.
Leaving her two dogs, who were lunging at the patio door and shaking the house, securely locked inside, Karyn crossed the road and knocked on the chicken guy’s door. What she wanted to say was, “Two of your chickens have gone AWOL, and are partying it up in my backyard,” However, her Spanish classes had not yet progressed to the level that would cover that particular situation.
So, when the chicken guy answered his door, she put her hands under her armpits, flapped her elbows in a wing-like motion, and let out a series of squawks. To his further astonishment, Karyn pointed to her house and said in the one relevant Spanish word that came to mind: “casa,” meaning “house.” His look of complete amazement was replaced by an expression of comprehension, rapidly changing to amusement. He followed her across the road and out to her patio. He scooped up his chickens, awkwardly tipped his hat, nodded his thanks and returned through the living room, a chicken tucked securely under each arm. He slipped out the front door and across the street to his poultry yard.
When the Newfoundlands took in the unusual sight of the three interlopers crossing their living room territory, they went wild. But the stoic old man just kept walking, and the chicken’s just kept squawking. The dogs looked at each other as if to say, ‘What a blast!’ I wonder what Karyn has planned for tomorrow.”