Picture of Otis courtesy of Janie of Southern Lagniappe
Last Thursday, September 17, I wrote a post on this chicken "Otis" who is a frequent customer at the KFC on Indiana Ave., not far from I-20 Interstate. Charlie Mitchell, who is an executive editor of our hometown paper, The Vicksburg Post, wrote an article yesterday about getting Otis the chicken a sign reading "Eat Mor Beef." I wanted to share his entire article with you because it's a very humorous read.
Well, the secret's out.
No, not Col. Harlan Sanders' spice mixture for his fried chicken. That's still in a safe in Kentucky.
The secret about Otis the chicken - as yet unfried - who frequently visits the parking lot of the KFC on Indiana Avenue.
To tell the truth, Otis wasn't much of a secret already.
All the KFC employees know Otis and are intimately familiar with his frequent struts past their drive-through window.
But a customer, apparently in line awaiting a serving of Otis' extra crispy cousins, snapped a photo and sent it to WAPT in Jackson, which, in turn, featured the perambulating bird on a newscast last week.
They say we newspaper folk have no conscience. It's not true.
At the Post, we've known about Otis, who spends most of his time on the south side of Indiana Avenue at the BancorpSouth branch, for quite a while. Our photojournalist have lathered the prospect of the awards they'd win for a photo of Otis strutting the lot with the big KFC sign in the background. What would be the heading? "The One That Got Away." (corny) "Have You Seen My Mother?" (cruel) Or, as a counter-punch to the cows in the Chick-fil-A commercials, the heading could suggest Otis get a banner reading, "Eat Mor Beef."
We could take his picture in front of the bank and speculate he'd gone there for a little scratch.
The KFC shot would be better.
But discretion has been the better part of valor at the Post.
The way it was figured here was that if we made a big deal out of Otis, he might get chicken-napped.
Besides, between museums and casinos and tour homes and a national park, this town has plenty to lure tourist without adding a celebrity rooster to the mix.
Mark Buys of BancorpSouth said employees at the branch know about Otis, too. Maybe they consider him a watch-chicken. That branch hasn't been robbed in a while. Don't know if they feed him, but Otis has earned his chops.
And he must have something on the ball, too.
He does cross the road.
We don't know why.
We do know the place where he crosses is four lanes wide or wider. Cars and trucks zip through that area at a pretty good clip.
Although Otis, as of this writing, has managed to dodge the dangers, deer haven't been so lucky. I saw a fawn, still in spots, killed there about five weeks ago and I remember a larger doe was hit there a couple of years ago. Further west, a red fox was killed in 2008. The wooded terrain of the Vicksburg County Club golf course to the south and the woods behind the KFC and homes to the north are habitat for lots of wild critters. I once saw a deer safely make the crossing at high noon.
Chickens, of course, are not wild animals. Otis seems perfectly civil and civilized, not the least bothered by sharing his range with people or other animals.
But he's been on TV now.
That moves him up in the pecking order.
Everything could change...
Charlie Mitchell, Executive Editor
The Vicksburg Post