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My Big Chicken workout

Last week, my daughter had to go to the mall to purchase some heavy draperies for her new dance room (to keep light out so the black lights will work). This is about an 80-minute drive, so I offered to go with her.


We got lost. (I was driving – what do you think?). I had to stop to get directions. The man in the Dairy Queen window told us to drive left, down US 41 until we saw the chicken. I knew exactly what to do from there. You see, there is a huge 20 ft. chicken on the corner, some kind of fiberglass promotional bird built in the 50’s. It has a beak that opens and closes and eyes that roll around. You cannot miss the KFC chicken.


As we were driving that way I said, “I sure wish I owned that chicken. If I had a business, I wouldn’t care what it was, I’d name it after that chicken. Everyone knows that chicken. I live 1 ½ hour away, and even I know that chicken.”


My daughter said, “What if your business was a dance school?”

I said, “I’d call it Big Chicken Dance, I swear to God.”

We laughed about that, and other businesses that I would open if I had that chicken, like the Big Chicken art gallery. I said that even if I didn’t own the chicken, if I lived in that town, I’d open right next door to make use of the fabulous landmark. Heck, it should be a  cherished historic landmark for all that it demands such attention.


As we drove by, don’t ya know but we see that next door is a pawnshop named Big Chicken Pawn. I kid you not! We laughed about that, and my daughter pointed out that I am not all that original.


This led us into a discussion about pawnshops. I admitted I’ve never gone into one, although I have friends who do visit them and have picked up some great jewelry and tools that way.


Sure enough, we couldn’t resist the lure. We decided to stop in on our way back. Can’t resist a store called Big Chicken Pawn. I made jokes about how I’d love to go in there with my chickens, Pot Pie and Drumstick, and act like I needed to pawn them.


Anyway, inside we browsed the goodies, everything from jewelry to musical instruments. It was unique. I noticed a bunch of DVD’s on a table – 5$ each or five for 20 bucks so I went browsing. I stumbled upon a series of videos called The Firm workout DVD’s. I thought, Hey, I could use these.


The fact is, I’ve stopped going to my health club because it is a 40-minute drive and I just don’t have the time. I can spare an hour for a class, but adding the 1 ½ drive eats too much of my day. And I’ve missed it. So, I’ve been running, but for all that running is great for cardio, I miss my pump classes. Can’t have my arms going all jelly-ish on me, and my body craves the muscular high of working out.   

I know that once we get into our house, this won’t be a problem because we’ve built a huge workout room that will sport an elliptical machine and weights. We are putting in a TV and DVD player so I can use my yoga and Pilates exercise DVD’s. I figure that when I am home, I can just scoot downstairs everyday for a workout as a physical break from writing. Can’t wait. A few of these firm tapes might round out my library, so I decided to buy them.


I took them to the counter. An old man was working. He looked at the tapes and narrowed his eyes at me. “Are you going to actually use these,” he said skeptically.

I assured him I was.

He looked at the pictures on the covers. “Are you sure?”

I wondered if he was thinking I was too old or too lazy looking or too something or other. I laughed and pointed to the 20 something hard bodies on the cover and said, “That will be me. I’m gonna look just like them, wait and see.” (Can’t resist a chance to flirt with an ancient man – it’s my favorite hobby)

The man kept browsing through the videos. “Will you promise to come back and show me if you do?”

I said sure. Why not?

He kept looking at the videos with a funny look, pausing, ruffling through them all. I thought it weird behavior (Denver later said she thought it was creepy.) I figured he was going to say I needed to pay more for them or something, that they didn’t belong on that 5-dollar table. His behavior was strange, as if he didn’t want me to have these tapes. I made a few more jokes about my working out and told him I lived in the mountains in an isolated area and that I was a workout demon who no longer has an outlet for her devotion. I needed those tapes.  I was hoping to get some pity here.


He said, “Did you take all the videos?”

I said I had left two on the table because they used equipment I didn’t have (a special Firm bar). He told me to get them. I didn’t really want more then ten videos but I figured he didn’t want me to leave a part of the set, so I thought OK, I’ll take them all.


He said, “Don’t go anywhere. I have something for you. I mean it. Don’t move.” Then, he left.

Denver leaned over nervously and said, “What is he doing?”

I said he was probably going to get me a rowing machine or something to try to sell me  more stuff. But I was wondering too. And I was wondering if this whole DVD purchasing idea was a mistake now.


Out came the old man with a step and a firm bar. He said, “I want you to have these. I’m giving them to you. I had to search my memory to recall where I put them, and I doubt anyone but me in this place even knows we had them in the back, but I knew they were here somewhere. If you are really going to work out, you need the stuff to do the job right.”

Apparently, he was browsing those videos searching the files in his brain to remember.

I was thrilled. Really. I wanted a step and a bar. Ha. Lucky me.

I asked what I owed him, I had 13 videos and a bar and a step now. He thought about it and said, “How about 45 dollars – and don’t forget to visit me.”

Wow! I was getting about 300 dollars in workout stuff and this was more than a fair break even in a pawnshop. I agreed and loaded it all into my car.


Denver  laughed at my full-blown excitement. She said, “Well, you are going to be a pawn shop diva now.”

She’s right. Just goes to show that happiness lives where chickens dwell.


Today, it is raining. I actually worked out at home with my bar to a fitness tape. I’m sore from last night’s run so it was a welcomed change of pace. Nothing like convenience. I could even do it barefoot. Yehaw.

I felt sort of stupid all alone at home working out to a video, but it beats feeling like mush.



I told Denver later that I felt badly shopping in a pawnshop because my luck might be from the misfortune of others. She disagreed. She said, “Mom, whoever had that expensive Firm series bought them and didn’t use them. And keeping them around made them feel guilty. No doubt, it was easier dropping them off here than having a yard sell. Nothing to feel guilty about. You can bet those diamond rings come from women who broke up with their boyfriends and needed some cash. Most of that stuff was probably stuff the original owner didn’t want anymore. You do them a favor by supporting the store so they have a place  to get ready cash when they need it.”


Well, now, there is a positive slant on the entire thing. So, thanks to her, I won’t feel guilty about my big chicken purchase. I will maintain my sleek, muscular middle-aged bod (that is a stretch, I guess, but let a girl exaggerate for ego’s sake) and celebrate my shopping savvy each day when I do my 50 minute firm workout.


I guess you can find a solution for anything you are missing in your life if you’ve a mind to be creative about it.

About Ginny East Shaddock

Ginny is the owner of Heartwood Yoga Institute. She is an ERYT-500 Yoga teacher, C-IAYT Yoga therapist, RCYT & Ayurveda Counselor who loves nature, gardening, and creative arts. She has an MFA in creative writing from Lesley University, and a BA in Business Administration from Eckerd College. She teaches writing and is the creator of the memoir writing program, "Yoga on the Page" combining the teaching of yoga to writing personal stories with integrity, intention, and heart.

2 responses »

  1. great story!! we really enjoyed reading it. come back soon to enrich your shopping experiences. have a great holiday season. big chicken pawn.



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