I have been very amused by all the uproar about keeping chickens in yards across America. Clucking and crowing has even made headlines in Bluffton.
When my sister and brothers and I were little we were each given a baby chick one Easter. This was at a time when chicks and ducklings were dyed a rainbow of colors, and they were in stores all over town. There was no way to tell the sex of the chicks so sometimes there were roosters in the mix. My brother Corben got what turned out to be a rooster.
He adored his rooster and became quite attached to him. The rooster would follow him everywhere he went when he was outside. They made quite a pair.
The neighborhood we lived in was not chicken-friendly. The rooster crowed constantly, whether the sun was rising or setting, and all day if he liked. The crack of dawn was not to be obeyed. Our phone rang constantly with people complaining about the noise.
One day the rooster vanished. We later found out my grandmother's yardman had taken the rooster home and, to our horror, had eaten him for Sunday dinner. My brother was most upset, to say the least. But our phone stopped ringing, to our parents' pleasure.
Chickens wove their clucking way back into my heart when we moved to Bluffton. Mr. "Kiss" Beach and his wife lived across from my store. He owned the house that is now Michael Hahn's office on Lawrence Street.
Mr. Kiss had a vegetable garden and a flock of the most beautiful black chickens you have ever seen. There was also one rooster who crowed whenever he felt the urge. No one took offense.
Every morning the chickens were let out of their coop to forage amongst the rows of vegetables. All day long they roamed up and down Calhoun Street, crossing back and forth at their leisure. When the sun was getting low in the sky, they would meander back into their coop for the night.
I don't recall anyone ever complaining about all of the clucking or crowing coming from Mr. Kiss' yard. Mr. Kiss got to the point he could no longer plant his garden or tend his flock. Once again the chickens vanished. I was told they had been sold to someone upcountry who had a nice farm. Mr. Kiss assured me no one would eat the rooster, because he was too tough and would take too long to cook.
I miss those chickens and Mr. Kiss' garden, which was a lovely work of art. That was 35 years ago, but it seems like only yesterday.
Anyway, I loved every minute of the Arts and Seafood Festival this past week. Everyone I talked to said they had a wonderful time and thought the whole week was great fun.
Thank you to all who made it possible. I can't wait until next year.
Babbie Guscio is the social columnist for The Bluffton Packet. She can be reached at The Store on Calhoun Street.