• Samantha Buchanan/Contributing Photo Richard the Rooster on his daily patrol in the Arby’s parking lot.
    Samantha Buchanan/Contributing Photo Richard the Rooster on his daily patrol in the Arby’s parking lot.

Richard the Rooster’s last crow

    With the sound of bagpipes emanating through a cool breeze, the local legend known as Richard the Rooster was laid to rest at noon Saturday in the lot he most patrolled, between Arby’s and the Valley River Humane Society’s thrift store, which makes a lot of sense if you think about it. A nice cross and a rock with “So brave” painted on it mark the spot where the friendly bird was laid to rest.
    No one seems to know where he came from, as he just started hanging around last year – some people thought he was a mascot for Arby’s, like the Chic-fil-A cows, while others thought he was simply looking for a free meal. No one knows why he was attempting to cross U.S. 64 West when he was hit Thursday. What we do know is that little white rooster made an awful lot of friends in his relatively short time strutting around this rock.
    One of those friends was Lisa Buchanan, who works at the nearby ReMax office. She was so moved by Richard’s untimely passing that she wrote this obituary for him.

    Richard “Rocky” “The Arby’s” Rooster passed away Thursday, March 22, 2018, in Murphy.
    An infamous rooster, he was known to peck on glass windows and doors for food as well as for jumping on vehicles, much to the consternation of the owners. He will be missed by all those who found his antics amusing and heartwarming. He was part of our small-town charm.
    While no one can claim to be surprised by his passing – after all, the life expectancy of highway roosters isn’t terribly long – we are going to miss his echoing crows and daily visits to businesses alongside the highway. He may not have lived long, but he did live free – in fact, he demanded it, refusing to go home to a comfortable life on someone’s farm.
    Why did the chicken cross the road? Because he refused to know any other way to live.
    In lieu of flowers, Richard’s loved ones ask that donations be sent to the Valley River Humane Society in Marble.

    In all seriousness, I hope my obituary is that good someday. Many others also offered comments about and shared photos of Richard online, several with tongue stuck firmly in cheek.
    “No politics, no opinions, just a free spirit that lived his life as he pleased.” – Bill Maffett
    “This is what we do in the mountains when a friend dies. RIP Richard. Roosters lives matter.” – Barbara McMillan
    “PETA will love us now. No possum dropping, only chicken funerals here in Murphy.” – Katrina David Flaws
    “Col. Sanders must have put a contract hit on ol’ Richard.” – Manfred Standingbear
    “Mark Edwards put food out for him everyday. We already miss hearing him outside our front door in the morning.” – Sheri Brydebell
    “I just want everyone to think for a minute. It’s amazing what Richard did. He brought a lot of people together. It’s awesome how one animal can bring about so much love in one town.” – Angie Cornwell Bates
    Jonathan Hart, whose heart is always in the right place for animals, picked up poor Richard’s body and stashed it in his freezer until the funeral. Even he was surprised at the outpouring of support for the rooster, who I first learned was popular after posting a photo on Instagram months ago.
    While foul play is not suspected, many people were depressed, knowing they would never get an answer as to why he was crossing the road. Those little mysteries just make life more interesting. See you in the next world, Richard, where there are no vehicles and roosters run free with curly fries.
    David Brown is publisher of the Cherokee Scout. You can reach him by phone, 837-5122; fax, 837-5832; and email, dbrown@cherokeescout.com;
plus follow hi m on Twitter @daviddBstroh and Instagram@daviddBbrown.