Archived Story

The great chicken hunt

Published 2:45pm Monday, June 18, 2012

The grass is always greener on the other side. Folks always want what they don’t have. I could keep going, but you get the picture.

Alexander City doesn’t have a Chick-fil-a.

My wife, Mary Lyman, and apparently many, many others in our community, crave the fried chicken and crispy waffle fries of Chick-fil-a.

So when we travel, I always keep an eye out for the red and white chicken head signs.

Friday afternoon we were heading through Georgia, heading toward North Carolina. It was roughly lunch time, and of course the request for Chick-fil-a came from the back seat.

Somewhere around Norcross on I-85 we saw the chicken sign.

Really, we did.

I pulled into the exit lane and looked for those little highway signs on the side of the road. There were none. So we had to guess what side of the road that the chicken was on. I turned the wheel right drove for a while, executed a U-turn of questionable legality, crossed over the highway and quickly found ourselves in a Korean village. Strip centers with all the signs written in Asian characters. But no chicken head sign.

We turned back around and discovered that you couldn’t continue north on 85 from that exit, so we pulled another U-turn, probably even more suspect since driver agitation was beginning to be obvious, and took a chance on a side road that seemed to parallel the highway. It didn’t.

But eventually we got back on the highway.

After the 30-minute detour, we decided to bypass a ton of chicken signs. By the time the clock hit 3:30 or so, stomachs started growling and we resumed the great chicken hunt.

Mary Lyman said she saw a sign that said “Chick-fil-a in 6 miles.” We kept looking, but never saw the restaurant.

Mary Lyman saw another sign.

“Are you sure you saw it.”

“Yes, it was way up in the sky.”

“Was it shimmering like a mirage?”

We kept driving.

Never saw the chicken head, though we did pass a billboard where two black and white cows where painting “beef weighs you down.”

Finally, about an hour and a half later after we began the great chicken hunt, somewhere near Clayton, Ga., we found a Chick-fil-a, with a huge parking lot filled with drooling people from chick-less towns. As we were getting out of the car, Mary Lyman realized that we were going to be eating dinner in less than an hour.

So she ordered a small fry and a kid-sized order of chicken nuggets, which we split.

It didn’t do much to quiet the growling, but it was good.

It wasn’t nearly the mystic treasure from Shangri-la that hours of doing without had built it up to be in our minds, but for fast food, it was certainly better than most.

I’m hunting for Firehouse Subs on the way back.

Boone is publisher of The Outlook.

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