High Heals and Chickens - By Linda Burk

Samantha Starr was at the top of her game. A classic beauty with raven-black hair, porcelain-white skin, startling gray eyes, and a six-foot body clad in size-one clothes. Her parents were real-estate barons in New York City. They pushed their daughter to take advantage of her good looks. 

Samantha, like many other models, was anorexic to keep her size-one figure. As a perfectionist she excelled in school and as a famous model. Her photo appeared on the cover of many fashion magazines dressed in her signature silver sequin dress with six-inch matching heels. 

Samantha lived in the center of New York City on the second floor of a brownstone. She kept to herself being too busy to notice her neighbors. Her friends were other models who mainly were interested in spas, clothes, and meeting men who had plenty of money. Her long-term boyfriend was a stockbroker. Their time together was spent mingling with the rich and famous. 

As Samantha reached her 25th birthday she had the nagging feeling that she was missing something. Her life seemed empty. Samantha was taking a few weeks off from modeling to relax. As she stretched out on her white kid-leather sofa, she fell asleep and began to dream. It was a country scene. She loved the smell of fresh manure, cattle lowing in the nearby field, and she was drawn to the yard of chickens. She immediately fell in love with these feathered creatures. They strutted around, not unlike the models on the runway. Each day of her vacation Samantha returned to that dream. After a week she was compelled to seek out some chickens. One morning she rode the subway to New Jersey and found a bus to the countryside. It was a revelation. The lack of constant horns and sirens of New York traffic, the smell of the fertilizer on the fields, and the smell of the sweet clover just mowed was intoxicating. She walked to the fenced-in yard to watch the chickens pecking for bugs in the green grass as they made little contented moaning sounds. Oh my! How she loved it! All at once an old farmer strode up to her. “What are you doing?” He eyed her tight-fitting slacks and six-inch heels slowly sinking in the dirt. Samantha was startled but made a split-second decision. She wanted to buy some chickens for pets. The farmer shook his head muttering “These darn city slickers.” But he found an old cat carrier and sold her two banty hens. Samantha hurried into her building with the covered cat carrier. The doorman did not seem surprised. “Good evening, Ms. Starr. I hope you enjoy your cats.” Samantha nodded and smiled. It would be her secret. She set up the spare room with some straw and an antique dresser on which the chickens could roost at night. The chickens were free to roam around the room. She loved to hold and pet them. But they did not seem to be thriving. She realized they needed a place to peck at bugs. Several times a week she began a routine of transporting them in the cat carrier on the subway to New Jersey and then riding her bike to a field where they happily pecked at bugs for a couple of hours, She lured them back with cracked corn. 

Samantha became obsessed with the chickens. She dropped most of her friends and her money- obsessed boyfriend. She began to eat the eggs and discovered she loved cooking and even canning fruits and vegetables from the local farmers’ market. Soon her dress size increased to a 3 and she no longer was the top model. She couldn’t understand where this passion came from. One day she went to a hypnotist. He took her back to her former life as a farmer’s wife in the 16th century. Her husband treated her badly and she took solace in the barn yard-especially with the chickens. 

She knew she had to make a choice: high heels or chicken. Samantha thought long and hard. She realized her looks would not last forever and her modeling had given her financial freedom. Her heart was in the fields of New Jersey. Her chickens wouldn’t care what she looked like. It was not a difficult choice.

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