Join Editor-in-Chief Joshua Heston along with Ethan Grubaugh talk about the beauty of springtime in the Ozarks, Autry the Rooster, baby chickens, 1985 headlines, sarvisberry history, all Before Common Era Ethan (BCEE)…

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Shades of Spring


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AUTRY THE ROOSTER.I think it was about 1985 and I was six years old. Funny what perspective does for a kid. You know, I really don’t remember much about the headlines of the year and I don’t feel particularly bad about that because this week I looked those headlines up…

Mikhail Gorbachev takes over leadership of the USSR / Reagan says the US will abide by the unratified SALT II agreement / Palestinian terrorists seize the Achille Lauro / Rock Hudson dies / The second Rambo movie is released.

For me, fortunately, all that news was all a world away.

What I remember is Autry.Autry was a towering Columbian Wyandotte rooster. He arrived — fresh from the egg — in a box of chicks from Murray McMurray Hatchery and was supposed to be a hen. In fact, the whole box was supposed to be hens. But Autry kind of stood out after the first season, especially when he began crowing.

Nonetheless, this particular chicken turned out to be more than a pet. To me, he was a kind and understanding friend. Standing tall, especially to my seven-year-old self, he came up to my waist. Extremely curious, Autry would follow me around the yard asking — in a soft, clucking, inquisitive sort of way — to be picked up.

I’d hoist him up as well as I could and tote him around. His feet usually dragged the ground.

Autry would relax, lean back and just enjoy the ride. It was an odd relationship but I don’t think either of us knew the difference. What I appreciated most was he simply wanted attention and a bit of company. I’d visit with him about whatever was on my mind and can still remember the kind look in his eyes as he’d turn his head this way and that.He also ate shelled corn out of my hand (which likely assisted his abiding interest in our friendship).

Those 1985 headlines prove my good old days were not simpler times. But it was a much simpler time for me and I miss it. Me and Autry.

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