Not far from my apartment is the oldest residence in Los
Angeles, the Gilmore
Adobe, vintage 1834. It's owned by the Farmer's Market Gilmores,
oil from wells nearby, ran a racetrack and a baseball stadium
here, and are
now building a shopping mall.
The Adobe is a rambling, Spanish ranch home so cloistered
banana plants and other foliage that many neighborhood residents
know it exists. And now, as the new development is shouldering
up to the
Adobe's, well, adobe wall, it has become an even more secret
for the one feature that tends to give its' presence away:
that would be it's
resident crowing rooster.
Construction noise tends to drown him out now, but back before
began you might hear the little guy announcing the arrival
of dawn at any
time of day. It is a slightly jarring sound if you don't expect
it, and I
didn't. "...gee, that sounded like a rooster crowing..."
I wondered when I
first heard him, probably seven years ago. After a couple
more rounds over
the next few weeks I realized I had, indeed, heard a real
crowing in the center of America's second largest city. I
find it deliciously
silly, and I think it reveals the true bumpkin core that lies
just below the
ersatz veneer of Tinsel Town. But I digress.
The rooster was always more of a phantom than the Adobe:
you could see the
building through the trees if you stood in the right spot,
And as construction progressed the only remaining evidence
that he was still
around became harder to come by: it's just too noisy to hear
him above the
So his cameo appearance on the site of the new mall was reassuring.
was, picking his way across the mud near the clocktower, followed
worshipful distance by two love-sotted hens. He was a glorious,
terra-cotta color, much like the tile on the roof of the building
home. The hens' feathers were the color of tea with milk;
the three of them
looked well fed and perfectly at home, even though they were
a city block
away from the Adobe when I spied them. I worried about them-the
gives access to Third Street was open. If they wandered another
block-and they seemed perfectly fixed on doing so-they'd be
fricasseed out on
the street. But they were on one side and I on the other side
construction fence, so there was nothing I could do to encourage
return to the safety of the coop.
Their fate remained a mystery for about a month until I ran
into the Farmers'
Market security chief, a terrific man by the name of Sherif
Barsoum. I told
him how I'd seen the three chickens wandering about the jobsite,
and I asked
if they were OK.
"Oh, sure," Sherif replied,"...they go wherever
they want. They like to go
over to CBS and walk around the halls there..." CBS Television
property runs right up to the Farmers' Market property line.
were his reassuring parting words.
About the Author
Nancy LeMay is a five-time Emmy winning broadcast designer
who has worked both in New York and LA, in network and local.
She is a teacher and a painter as well. You can reach her
through her website, www.Nancylemay.com
and by email at NancyLeMayCo@aol.com