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A chicken in every pot is just fine, but not in every yard
Joseph Pond’s chickens will have to go.
That’s what the Cobb County, Ga., board of zoning appeals says: You have 45 days, Joe Pond, to get those 11 pet chickens off your half-acre lot. If you had at least two acres, we’d let you keep the chickens.
Joe Pond’s 10-year-old daughter, Madeline, burst into tears when she heard the verdict.
What’s the world coming to?
In the mid-1960s, when I lived in Cobb County, people were allowed to have rats in their apartments. I know because I had rats in my apartment, and the board of zoning appeals didn’t say a word. I finally moved because the rats weren’t that friendly.
I understand why one of Joe Pond’s neighbors objects to seeing the 11 pet chickens from her deck when gazing off in the direction of his house. She wants to rest her eyes on a nice, pristine scene, which, in her mind, doesn’t include 11 pet chickens and a cage. But she didn’t complain. She had planned to plant some Leyland cypress to block her view of Joe Pond’s 11 pet chickens. But word got out, and the local government came to her defense.
I grew up in a small town that allowed folks to have cows in their backyard. I know because, about three times a week, I pulled my little red wagon with the bottle rack inside to Anna Lou Richards’ home a quarter-mile away. Mrs. Richards would sell me a gallon of unpasteurized, unhomogenized, un-everything milk straight from her cow in the backyard. Daddy didn’t like that new pasteurized stuff sold in the store, so we drank Mrs. Richards’ raw milk until her cow died or went dry, I don’t remember which.
Wonder if it’s against the law in some counties — surely it is with some persnickety homeowners associations — to hang clothes on a line? Don’t get me wrong: My wife and I love our clothes dryer. When we got married, her parents gave us a choice of two wedding gifts: a trip to Hawaii or a washer and dryer. We took the washer and dryer.
Still, you must admit — those of you who remember clothes lines — that nothing smelled fresher than sheets dried in the sun, even if they got a little dusty from the dirt road that ran in front of your house.
By the way, the late Paul Harvey, the famous radio commentator, said we’d be better off if we had more dirt roads in this country. “There’s not a problem in America today (crime, drugs, education, divorce, delinquency, etc.) that wouldn’t be remedied if we just had more dirt roads,” he said. “Dirt roads have character.”
We lived on a dirt road for 19 years, and I like hard surface better. But Paul had a point: “Progress” doesn’t always mean a better, more congenial society.
If everybody could keep a few free-range chickens in the yard, surely we would be more considerate of our neighbors. At least we’d watch where we step.
Phil Hudgins’ column is published in many newspapers around the Southeast.