Flashback Friday: (sorry I’m late)

Chapter 9 in the Crow series

The “Funky Chicken”


In Orlando, Florida, there exists a theme park—of sorts— known as Gatorland. According to the parks promotional ad, [Gatorland has] thousands of alligators and crocodiles, a free-flight aviary, petting zoo, and one of a kind animal shows (“Gatorland at a Glance,” 2017).


What the article doesn’t mention is the “Piano-Playing-Rooster” that greeted eyes wide with excitement in 1967. In that year, I was a 6-year-old tyke on my first great adventure, visiting relatives in Orlando AND, as if the trip wasn’t adventure enough, going to Gatorland.


To enter Gatorland, we first had to walk through the gaping maw of a giant alligator’s head. The alligator’s red tongue served as the “red carpet”, welcoming eager visitors. Along each side of the “carpet” was a row of sharp white teeth nearly as tall as I. The roof of the “alligator’s” mouth, was lined with a similar set of fangs threatening to chomp down on unsuspecting visitors.


Needless to say, the sight was extremely alarming to a 6-year-old. However, one glimpse of the “Piano-Playing-Rooster” alleviated all of my fears and replaced them with wonderment. Someone dropped a coin into the slot on the box which triggered a red light to flash and a buzzer to sound which in turn prompted that “Funky Chicken” to play his little chicken heart out. When he’d finished his concerto, corn poured from a slot in the case and the “Funky Chicken” feasted. The crowd that had gathered around the case applauded and cheered. I simply wondered in amazement, “How did they teach that chicken to play that piano?”


Evidently, some chickens possess a fair amount of intelligence. I once heard a story about a devout Deacon who carried his Bible with him everywhere he went. At some point, he lost his favorite Bible while he was working on his farm. Three weeks later, a chicken walked up to him carrying the Bible in its mouth. The Deacon couldn’t believe his eyes. He took the precious book out of the chicken’s mouth, raised his eyes heavenward and exclaimed, “It’s a miracle!” “Not really,” said the chicken. “Your name is written inside the cover.” Now THAT chicken was smart!

In later years, two of my cousins became great keyboardists too. Their talented fingers never fail to make my heart jump for joy and my soul soar on eagle’s wings, but my first love will always be the Funky Chicken of Gatorland.

Here’s a thought:

-We have no musician for our church out in the country.

-We don’t have chickens, but we have a lot of Crows.

-We have an old piano right there in our church.

-Surely Crows are smarter than chickens.

Problem solved!


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