The McDonald’s restaurant closest to my home sits on a corner where a major east-west interstate highway crosses a busy four-lane state road. Traffic at this particular intersection is almost always fast and frantic, definitely not for the faint of heart.
There I was, sitting in the drive-thru lane at McDonald’s, when a movement at the edge of the parking lot caught my eye. I turned to get a better look and saw two hens, one red, one white, walking together next to the curb like two women on a mission.
All those cars whizzing by on the interstate? Didn’t seem to faze them. The hens walked with a purpose, as if they knew where they were going, stopping only for a moment to pick up a discarded french fry, then continuing on their eastward path.
I wondered how the hens got there. How and where did they cross the busy road? Did they recognize the danger they were in? And had they consciously decided that the reason for their trip was worth the risk? Why did those chickens cross the road?
One possible answer occurred to me, but even as I thought it, my mind wanted to reject it. Maybe I’ve seen too many movies on the Lifetime Channel. Maybe it was just my imagination running wild, but do you remember the movie about the woman who traveled to the seamy underbelly of the city in search of her runaway daughter, who had been drawn into prostitution against her will? No amount of danger could have kept that woman from searching for her daughter.
I thought of that movie as I saw those determined chickens. Were they crossing busy roads, dodging SUVs driven by people on cell phones, in a desperate search for their missing offspring?
The possibilities continued to play out in my mind, and just as an arm reached out the drive-thru window and handed over my breakfast order, I had an even more horrible thought. It stayed on my mind all the way home.
I almost cried as I ate that Egg McMuffin.