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November 17, 2012

Teenhood Today: Long live the chicken

The Daily Star

---- — I miss the chicken. For all of you who live in Otego, you know exactly what I’m talking about. For all of you that don’t: hang in there. 

Before I moved into the house I now live in, my grandparents lived here. I remember visiting them and knowing we were getting close because we’d pass the chicken. All three of us kids would push our faces against the window like road kill to get a better look and yell “THE CHICKEN!” 

I miss that. 

When we ride our bikes to go get ice cream, the ride will never be the same without the chicken as a mile marker.    

Giving directions will be so much more difficult. Instead of saying “when you pass the chicken …” now we have to actually know street names, and that is unfair!

For all of you non-Otegans who are sitting there thinking “what in the world is so special about the chicken?” I will give a long and extremely interesting description for you: it was a giant chicken statue. It used to live in front of a “store” more closely related to a year-round garage sale than a Walmart. At the auction of the “store,” they sold that beautiful chicken (try not to cry too hard).

Let’s all take a moment to remember the awesomeness that was the chicken.

OK, moment’s over!

I’m sure I can speak for most people (notice “most.” There are exceptions to every rule) when I say that there are things in our lives that bring back memories and remind us of the past, even if that past happened yesterday. For some it may be a flavor of ice cream that you always got when you shared your toys, that song that always made you smile no matter how wet your tears had made the pillow, that breed of squirrel that always made you scream like a maniac and run as fast as you can in the opposite direction because of a tragic back-story far too long and emotional to share. No matter what it is, we all have those. And each and every one of them takes a long time to say goodbye to. 

I am too young to drive, but I’m pretty sure that you drive by looking out the front window and not by staring into your rear-view mirrors. It’s good to look back and see that there may be danger in the form of a crazy car gone mad, but you should pay the most attention to what’s in front. 

It’s the same way with life. We need to look back at our past and smile at the chickens in our life, laugh at the squirrels and other irrational fears, and learn from our mistakes. But we can’t spend all of our time looking back with “what if’s” and “if only’s” stuck on our lips. We need to take what we know about the past and apply it to the future. Learn from your mistakes, but don’t get too caught up in the past. The future is always running into you. Sorry. You need to be ready for it. 

So join me in saying goodbye to the chicken (and all the other “chickens” in our lives) and looking to the future. Say goodbye, but don’t forget them. Don’t dwell on them, but let them live in a part of you. Long live the chickens!

Miriam A. Thurber is a sophomore at Unatego Central School. ‘Teen Talk’ columns can be found at