Mary Ann Crum

I used to think our dog, Winston, was certifiably nuts. A mother lode of material for this column and very loved, but crazy.

Looking back now, though, Winston actually seems pretty sane compared to the chickens that are currently the only "pets" in our kingdom.

If I were politically correct, I'd say our chickens are "challenged," but honestly, I think they're just dumb. Not much going on in those tiny heads.

Weirdness is a way of life for these birds and begins first thing each morning when they tumble out of the chicken house, like the Keystone Cops, as soon as the automatic door opens at daybreak.

The rest of their day is spent sprinting crazily and spontaneously to and fro, with occasional breaks to peck, sip water and maybe ? or maybe not ? plop out eggs.

When one chicken makes a mad dash, they all take off?like Walmart when the doors are unlocked on Black Friday. Maybe the first hen knows why she's running?though I doubt it?but all the others look like they're wondering, "Why are we running? Why are we running?"

And yet they run.

It would be easy to make some metaphorical observations here about human behavior, but they're so obvious I won't even go there. Instead, I want to discuss another chicken behavior that seems even stranger to me: how our chickens rarely ever lay their eggs in the wonderful nesting boxes my husband built for them, but instead choose to deposit them on the nasty floor of the chicken coop.

Joe even put curtains on the little nesting "condos," having read that some hens like their privacy. It didn't work. The "girls" just continue to take turns laying their eggs in a corner on the floor, which makes as much sense to me as a bunch of pregnant ladies choosing to take turns having their babies in one parking spot in the hospital lot when nice birthing suites are available just inside.

We tried putting golf balls in the nesting boxes, as suggested by friends, to inspire our hens. That didn't work, either. Maybe they're holding out for big-screen TVs and recliners, but we do have our limits.

I really didn't think this would be a problem. Of all the things I imagined a chicken might not be able to figure out, how to lay an egg in a nest wasn't one of them. Birdbrained, indeed. But at least it did serve as a reminder of an important truth.

In the Gospel of John, Jesus said to His disciples (and to us), "? I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also."

So the One who created every magnificent thing in this universe is preparing a place for us. It will be better than anything our minds can conceive, the Bible tells us. More beautiful, fulfilling, fun, happy, peaceful, and secure.

But some people?most, in fact?will choose not to go there.

Why? Because they won't accept God's one and only requirement for entrance to that place: faith in Jesus Christ.

God isn't going to force anyone to spend eternity with Him in the glorious, perfect heaven He's prepared. Anyone who didn't want anything to do with Jesus here won't be with Him there.

But we will all spend eternity somewhere, and the alternative is hell.

How "birdbrained" would we have to be to choose that?

"Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." ? Romans 10:9

Crum ( lives in Abbeville and is the author of two books, "A Giggle Goes a Long Way" and "Live.Learn.Laugh!" She can be reached at