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There and Back Again: A Chicken’s Unexpected Journey to Costco and Beyond

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  • Thought the life of a chicken was boring? Think again.

In a story twist that could’ve popped straight out of a Pixar writers’ brainstorming session, a curious chicken recently went on a journey of a lifetime. And just like the studio’s best animated features, this animal story has a happy ending.

Reba is a Rhode Island Red hen living in Fair Oaks Ranch, Texas, as a pet of the Matthews family. Her quiet chicken life was interrupted on July 1 when she unwittingly became a stowaway in a delivery driver’s car.

On the morning of that fateful day, Reba was outside with her two chicken sisters, Wynonna and Patty. Somewhere in the yard her family’s dog Scout was running about.

Then, around 10 am, a delivery driver from Instacart arrived at the yard. A video from the Matthews’ security camera system shows him leaving the trunk of his car open as he goes to deliver a package.

The strange car must have piqued Reba’s curiosity. The video shows her flapping up to the side of the car and eventually hopping inside the trunk. Her two sisters, perhaps blessed with more common sense, continued with their chicken business on the ground.

The delivery driver, having dropped off his package, then returned to the car. Distracted by his phone – most likely looking up his next delivery address – he closed the trunk without looking inside.

He got into the driver’s seat and took off… Unknowingly taking Reba with him.

The Case of the Missing Hen

Several hours passed before Reba’s owners Jennifer and Justin Matthews even noticed that she wasn’t around.

“I didn’t see her when I took them food and water. I assumed she was in the coop laying an egg,” Mrs. Matthews told Express News.

“It wasn’t until later when I realized she was gone that I thought maybe a raccoon or a hawk had taken her. But typically, you’d see a bunch of feathers if that happened.”

Wanting to confirm whether Reba had met such a gruesome end, the Matthews pulled up their security camera footage. Instead, the video revealed the Instacart driver’s unintended chicken-napping.

“She always had more of a personality than the others. I wasn’t surprised to see her jump into that car,” said Mrs. Matthews.

The Matthews rushed to the phone and called Instacart. A helpful customer service representative connected them with the driver and acted as an interpreter from Spanish to English.

After concluding his business at the Matthews house, the driver had headed for his next stop – a local Costco. He told the family that he had discovered Reba when he opened his trunk and the confused hen had fluttered out. He’d assumed it must’ve been some kind of a prank.

Fading Hopes

At least the Matthews now knew Reba was alive when she got to Costco. Mr. Matthews hopped into his car and drove over. Unfortunately, he saw no sign of Reba in the parking lot.

He asked some of the Costco employees whether they’d seen an out-of-place chicken – or the remains of one – near their store. Mr. Matthews received both good and bad news.

The good news was that the employees had indeed seen a “fat chicken” running around the parking lot.

The bad news was that some ladies in a white car had picked her up and driven off.

At this point, the Matthews hopes of ever seeing Reba again were starting to fade. But when you love your pet, you will take any measures you can to get them back.

“I was glad to hear she hadn’t been run over. We posted about it on Facebook, but I thought there’s no way we’d ever get her back,” said Mrs. Matthews.

The Facebook post on Mr. Matthews profile, with the video from their security camera, quickly went viral. Within 24 hours it had gathered more than 154,000 views and 2,800 shares.

Social Media to the Rescue

Meanwhile, in San Antonio, sisters Susan Almarez and Zobeida Perry came home from Costco with a chicken. Only, this chicken wasn’t wrapped in plastic and ready to roast.

“We were looking for a parking spot when we saw this chicken walking around. We were worried she’d get run over, so we stopped to try and catch her,” Almarez explained.

“Who goes to Costco and comes home with a live chicken? We were laughing the whole time.”

Once they’d caught Reba, the sisters wrapped her in a towel and took her to the Perry house. There, they placed her in a cage they usually kept bunnies in.

Almarez posted about their unlikely incident on Facebook. Very soon, she got a message from a friend linking her to a news story about a lost chicken. Then more messages started coming in.

“Apparently, all of San Antonio was looking for this chicken. When I called to tell my sister, she was a little sad. She’d already fallen in love with her,” said Almarez.

Still, Reba had a home and it was only right to return her there. Almarez connected with the Matthews through Facebook and on July 3 she pulled up to their driveway.

“When we took her out of the kennel in my sister’s car and put her on the ground, she took off like a thoroughbred out of the gate, running to Wynonna and Patty. It was the cutest little chicken run I’ve ever seen,” Almarez laughed.

Reba’s journey made an impact on everyone who crossed her path. Perry said she is now determined to start raising chickens. Mr. Matthews is looking to turn Reba’s story into a children’s book.

Reba herself is back to laying eggs as if nothing ever happened. But she does have her own Instagram now.

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Man Rides Horse Down Highway in Chicago

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  • But he does it for good reason, and we really can’t be mad about it.

Just yesterday I wrote about a woman who fell out of the car she was riding in, all because of a Snapchat video. And today? A man riding his horse down the Chicago freeway.

What is with people these days? Oh ya, it is 2020.

It was 4:30 p.m. when police responded to the southbound lanes of the Dan Ryan Highway.

Adam Hollingsworth, 33, now known as the “Dreadhead Cowboy,” is facing three charges after the incident. Hollingworth was charged with reckless conduct, disobeying a police officer and criminal trespassing.

He rode around for 30 minutes or so as traffic slowed to a halt. Illinois police and Chicago police were following close behind.

Hollingsworth and the people with him were asked several times by law enforcement to leave the expressway, and they did not. Finally after exiting at the 35th St exit, Hollingsworth was taken into custody.

Darron Luster, 55, attempted to gain control over the horse after Hollingsworth was arrested. Luster was charged with obstructing and resisting arrest.

Chicago’s Mayor Lightfoot dubbed Hollingsworth “The Census Cowboy,” in efforts to bring awareness around filing out the census. Hollingsworth’s ride Monday was with the goal to turn more attention to the recent slaying of so many children over the summer.

“The thing is to send a message that our children are dying,” activist Mark Carter said. “That there are no resources coming to our communities.”

The mayor and governor are calling for funding for mental health, education and social programs and development in neighborhoods they said have been neglected.

Chicago Animal Control was called to the scene in regards to the horse. They took the animal to their facility.

The horse, named “NuNu,” had multiple injuries when animal control arrived. NuNu was bleeding from the left hoof, its right hoof was injured and the right side of the horse’s body had saddle sores.

Police were notified of Hollingsworth’s plan on Sept. 9th. His plan was denied.

The mayor’s office issued the following statement Monday.

“While the Illinois State Police (ISP) is directly leading all police matters around this incident due to the jurisdiction, Mayor Lightfoot has been briefed by the Chicago Police Department, who are assisting ISP. What is clear is that this stunt not only seriously endangered the horse but also the rider and all travelers on the expressway. There is a right way and a wrong way to call attention to issues of great importance and this stunt was decidedly the very wrong way. Furthermore, the Chicago Animal Care and Control (CACC) was on-scene arranging for the treatment of the horse which was injured as a result of this stunt and are now working to transport the animal to a temporary shelter where it can receive proper care.” 

 

 

 

 

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One of You Should Buy the Lizzie Borden House

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  • The 7-bedroom estate is back on the market for $890,000.
  • The current owners claim to have heard Lizzie Borden’s spirit, which means you can turn this into a profitable reality TV enterprise.

Just in time for the spoopy season, the Lizzie Borden house is back on the market. It’s not the house where the infamous murders took place, but Maplecroft. It’s where Borden lived in Fall River, following her acquittal for the ax-murder of her parents. It sold most recently in 2018 to Donald Woods and Leeann Wilber. They operate a Lizzie Borden themed bed-and-breakfast in the area. Until COVID, Wood and Wilber were renovating Maplecroft to become a similar venture, expanding their Borden empire. But the project got to be too expensive, and now they’re unloading the proper for $890,000.

 

I mean, I’ve seen worse properties go for more? Just look at the real estate market in Los Angeles. 

The Infamous Borden Murders

Photo by Benjamin Balázs on Unsplash

If you’re not familiar with Lizzie Borden, she stood trial for the ax-murder of her father and step-mother in 1892. The truth of what happened remains a mystery, even though the murders took place in the middle of the day with many members of the Borden household home. (Jk, Lizzie totally did it.) In part because of contradictory testimony by investigators and a second ax murder in the area, a jury acquitted Lizzie Borden. 

 

The live-in-maid at the Borden house, Bridget Sullivan, gave a deathbed confession to her sister. In it, she admitted changing her testimony to protect Lizzie. At the time of her death, Lizzie had amassed considerable wealth and several real estate holdings, but Maplecroft was her home. 

Definitely Not Haunted, Unless It Is

Photo by Benjamin Rascoe on Unsplash

There’s absolutely no reason to believe the ghost of Lizzie Borden is haunting Maplecroft. She was, by most accounts, not discontented when she died. It’s also very unusual for spirits to move properties–so Borden’s father and step-mother probably aren’t still seeking revenge at the estate. 

 

The current owners claimed to the Herald News they’ve picked up paranormal activity, registering as many as 50 voices in the home, including Lizzie Borden herself who was, “not particularly talkative.”

 

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Richard Nixon’s Unfinished Sandwich Celebrates Its 60th Anniversary

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  • But unlike those McDonald’s burgers that never rot, this lunch has been kept in a freezer

We, the people, like to process history through anniversaries. For one reason or another, we tend to put special emphasis on how many years it’s been since something happened.

Not that there’s anything wrong with the practice. When it comes to big anniversaries, 2020 has some good ones.

For instance, this August marked the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II. In January, the World Trade Organization celebrated its 25th birthday.

Meanwhile 2500 years ago – in 480 B.C. – King Leonidas of Sparta led 300 warriors against the might of the Persian Empire in the Battle of Thermopylae. What, did you think it was just a movie?

But in addition to history-shaping wars, 2020 also marks the anniversary of a slightly less significant event. More precisely, 60 years ago today – on September 22, 1960 – then-presidential candidate and later US President Richard Nixon didn’t finish his sandwich.

We know this because an Illinois man has preserved the half-eaten bison barbeque sandwich. It has sat in his freezer ever since Nixon walked away from his lunch decades ago.

The man in question is Steve Jenne, 74, of Sullivan, Illinois. This is his story – his, and Nixon’s partially consumed sandwich.

“I am not a crook. I am not going to finish that sandwich, either.” Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress.

A Trip Down the Memory Lane

But how come Jenne came to possess the lunch of Nixon, whose legacy would years later become forever tarnished in the Watergate scandal?

For answers, let’s accelerate to 88 mph and take a trip back in time. We find ourselves in the city of Sullivan on that more or less fateful date: 9/22/1960.

In case any Europeans are reading this, that’ll be 22/9/1960. Don’t get too confused, now.

On this date, Nixon was out on his presidential campaign. He was running against a Massachusetts senator, one John F. Kennedy.

As we know from history, a couple months later Kennedy would win the presidency. Nixon would have to wait until 1969 for his turn in the White House.

But on this September day, Nixon was in Sullivan on a campaign trip. For lunch, he was served the aforementioned bison barbeque sandwich.

Whether he wasn’t all that hungry or just straight-up didn’t like the sandwich has been lost to history. The facts are that he ate about half of it before proceeding to the park where he was supposed to debate Kennedy. However, Kennedy failed to show up, so Nixon took the chance to give a speech of his own.

While he was speaking, Steve Jenne – then a 14-year-old Boy Scout – kept an eye on the Senator’s unfinished lunch.

“Being the good Boy Scout that I was, I stood there and guarded that sandwich,” Jenne recounted to the University of Illinois.

Eventually, though, it became clear to Jenne that Nixon wasn’t coming back to clean his plate.

“I looked around and thought, ‘If no one else was going to take it, I am going to take it,’” Jenne told Herald & Review in a separate interview.

And so he did. The sandwich ended up in a glass jar in the Jennes’ freezer.

Onto the TV Screen

From Sullivan, the sandwich eventually relocated to Springfield when the Jennes moved house. When Steve Jenne eventually left his parents’ home to start a life of his own, the sandwich went with him.

In 1988, the aforementioned Herald & Review wrote a story of the sandwich, which at the time was of the ripe age of 28. The story went viral (or whatever the 1988 equivalent is), and Jenne ended up showcasing his artifact on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.

The famous comedian Steve Martin was also a guest on the show that night. Always ready to crack a joke, Martin signed a paper plate he had eaten a chicken salad sandwich off of and handed it to Jenne.

Probably to everyone’s surprise, Jenne happily accepted the plate. He still owns it.

A Memento for the Ages

Let’s zoom back to the present day. Nixon’s sandwich and Martin’s plate are today part of a collection that has expanded to include scrap food from musicians Tiny Tim and Henny Youngman.

Jenne said that he never wanted to become famous by preserving celebrities’ half-finished snacks. It’s just a fun quirk, and undoubtedly a great conversation opener.

He has enjoyed the opportunities Nixon’s unfinished lunch has opened for him, though. In addition to The Tonight Show, the sandwich has brought Jenne into contact with other famous people and even an appearance on the I’ve Got a Secret game show in the 2000s.

With the sandwich’s 60th anniversary, he hopes that it will draw attention to the Nixon visit plaque in Sullivan’s Wyman Park. Maybe the city could use some extra tourist income.

When it comes to the sandwich itself, Jenne has no plans on getting rid of it.

“As long as I am living, that sandwich will be stored in my freezer in a container that is labeled, ‘Save, don’t throw away,’ ” Jenne said.

And really, why would Jenne throw the thing away? It’s come in handy enough in these past 60 years, so who knows what tomorrow might bring.

Actually, it’s election season right now. Wonder what Trump’s or Biden’s lunch would be worth in a few decades…

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