After nursery school that day, we went to visit Janice, who had just lost her mother the night before. Mom asked, as she always does, what she could do, expecting to return later with a casserole or some shopping. Instead, Janice said, "You can take the chicken."

Janice had promised the (live) chicken as a prop for a theater production at ACCC that night. Lesser women than my mom might have said that this request was impossible. Instead, my mom lowered the seats in her tiny red car and tried to fit the chicken in, but the cage was too big. Janice suggested her husband's flatbed truck. My mom, Effie Russell, loaded up the chicken and my friend Timmy and me and set off - nervous behind the wheel, but unflinching. We were almost to Mays Landing when we passed the Golden Arches. Timmy and I began to beg for french fries. Any other woman would have said no. But my mom signaled a turn and maneuvered that rough beast into the drive-thru. Whenever we now pass that old McDonald's, we both start to laugh, remembering the chicken and the flatbed truck and the french fries. - Rich Russell, Ocean City

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