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Please, dear reader, don’t think badly of me.

It was only the briefest of thoughts. It came into my brain and just as quickly left.

I will admit that when I pulled into the driveway and hubby declared, “The chickens are missing!” the words “Thank goodness, I am saved” flashed across the billboard of my consciousness.

But then I saw my husband’s face. And my son, already trudging into the woods in search of the missing fowl, and I felt awful. Really awful. My poor chickens.

My eldest daughter looked at me, using my reaction to guide her own. She gave me the “Should we be upset about this?” look, and I gave her back the “Yes, anytime animals you own get in all likelihood carried off by a fox, even if those animals dig up your garden and poop all over your porch and sidewalk, you should feel bad” look.

We unclicked our seat belts and joined the search party.

“Here, chick, chick, chick. Here, chick, chick, chick.”

Minutes into the hunt, one hen, looking rather frazzled, was flushed from the woods. A minute later, another followed. The next day, a third would appear.

“Three isn’t bad. That’s actually the perfect number of chickens,” I said, trying to put a positive spin on the slaughter.

But hubby would have none of it. Six of our chickens were gone and while logic would say every passing day decreased the likelihood of finding survivors, he was nursing another hope.

“I think they went to go live with the neighbor,” he said.

“What are you talking about?”

“I saw some Rhode Island Reds in his yard. I think they went down there.”

Before you give this theory much credence, I will let you know my husband also believes our long-dead cat is really living with the guy five houses down.

“I don’t think our chickens or any other of our animals are living with neighbors, but if it makes you feel any better, go ask him.”

He did. Yes, there were chickens, just not our chickens.

Disappointment followed. Then mourning. Then an internet search.

“What are you doing?”

“I am buying more chickens. There’s a guy in Corinth who ...”

“Wait, wait, wait, I thought we decided three was the perfect number,” I began.

“Exactly, I am buying three more,” he said.

I did the math. That’s six chickens.

That afternoon, man, boy and cage drove over the mountain for the perfect number of chickens.

We had an even half dozen. And that was it. No more chickens.

Till a week later, when he bought three more. I discovered this last trio when I happened to look out the window to see birds of a different feather flocking together.

“What? Where did those white and brown ... ”

That makes nine.

Then the other day, he made a passing comment about pigs, as in, “Hey, wouldn’t it be neat if we got a couple pigs?”

There really should be a hotline for this sort of thing.

Don’t think badly of me, but I have a plan. I just hope the neighbor has room.

Martha Petteys writes a weekly column for The Post-Star. Write to her at petteyshome@gmail.com or visit her on Facebook.

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