Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
Anna Banana where are you? A sign in the shape of a chicken in the front yard of Connie Nolin's house in Monroe reads, “A chicken rules this roost.” Signs with Connie's grandchildren's names also line the sidewalk, which is a pretty good indicator of just how important Anna Banana, a chicken, is in this domicile.
The red hen showed up in Connie's yard about three years ago. Connie saw her fly from the neighbor's yard across the street, over Connie's black chain link fence, into her yard. The hen was young, just out of the chick stage but not yet laying. No one knows where she came from. This is a residential neighborhood with no farms nearby.
The hen never left. She roosts in a berry tree by the porch at night year-round, even in the winter, getting covered with frost. Connie runs a day care, and the kids, as well as her grandkids, love the hen. They feed her whatever is left over from eating. She loves hot dogs, even chicken. Connie gives her water in a tin can.
It was Connie who named her Anna Banana, for no reason, except it rhymes. If Anna Banana is hungry, she will hop up on the porch railing and peck at the door. No kidding.
When Connie started finding nests of eggs around the yard, first 18, then another one a dozen, with only a couple bad, well, then, Anna became real valuable. Fresh brown eggs are a delicacy.
Anna Banana's been missing before — a week here, a week there. But she always came back. Connie thinks she may be sitting on a nest of eggs somewhere, wanting to hatch a brood. After all, Anna Banana seemed to get upset when Connie took her eggs away from her. Then there was a lot of activity around the house lately when Connie had a bay window replaced. There was sawing and hammering, and strangers coming and going — just maybe too much craziness for Anna Banana.
Connie misses her and walks around the neighborhood calling, “Anna. Anna Banana where are you?” Feral cats have been known to attack Anna. Then there's always the fear of hawks. One night Connie heard Anna squawking and knew she was in trouble. She grabbed a flashlight and went out on the porch. There was a big, dark bird, maybe an owl. Connie clapped her hands and scared it away. Anna Banana was ruffled, but otherwise unhurt.
Then the neighbors' dog got into the yard and treed Anna. It was a bird dog. There was a staring contest, but Connie shooed the dog away.
Connie did see Anna about a week ago for a short time. She was skinny. But Anna disappeared again before Connie could feed her. A neighbor lady brings over corn and oats, but still no Anna.
One of Connie's family members showed Connie a picture of a chicken harness for walking a chicken. But Connie knows Anna Banana would never put up with that. She's too independent. Connie goes for a walk every morning, and Anna walks with her for about a block, then flies back.
Connie doesn't miss having to scrub off her porch every couple of weeks, but she still wishes she knew where Anna was and if she is all right. Anna's getting some age on her and not nearly as fast or quick to fly as she used to be.
The kids in Connie's day care miss her, too. The table scraps have to be thrown out now. Connie's granddaughter liked to hold Anna on her lap. Connie could sneak up on Anna when she was asleep in the sun. Anna would even go to sleep on Connie's lap.
Anna Banana please come home!
A neighbor man quips, “Winner winner, chicken dinner.” Connie could shoot him.