Sunday, June 25, 2006

Mental Health Chicken

Many moons ago, when my sister was still in college and I was living at home, there appeared in our Sunday Buffalo News an illustration of a frolicking chicken. It probably accompanied an article featuring chicken recipes; I really don't remember.

But because I had spent some time during my sophomore year of college (both of them) battling depression, and my sister was studying to become a psychiatric nurse, the happy image became dubbed "The Mental Health Chicken." I believe she even cut it out and hung it up in her dorm room.

As the years went by, we would refer to visits from the Mental Health Chicken as some people talked about getting a quarter from the Tooth Fairy. "The Mental Health Chicken will rescue you," we'd remind each other when things were getting us down.

Well, the other week I received a birthday card from E. and it featured a picture of a little girl riding a chicken on an old-timey carousel. "It's your birthday!" it crowed. "Ride the wild chicken!"

And inside was this little ditty. It, and the memories of times with my sister, brought a tear to my eye, they really did.

It's the Mental Health Chicken!
Jump on, and hold on tight!
Visit happy places, both day and night!
Lay golden eggs of mirth and joy,
with all your might!
You'll both cackle with delight,
'Cuz mental wellness is out of sight!


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