When the fowl is in full plumage, he can attract the attention of thieves and other ne’er-do-wells. In the early ’70s, a group of Brown University frat boys loaded the rooster into a pick up truck and took off for campus. How he got back to Narragansett Boulevard is a little unclear, but an exchange involving a case of bourbon and the dean of students seems to have played a role.
More recently, a group of Johnson & Wales students tried to make off with the rooster on foot. Todd says the clerk on duty, looking through the store’s high-slung windows, re-alized what was happening when he saw the bird’s head bobbing up and down as it waddled along the sidewalk.
Friends of the store, ensconced at a bar across the street, came to the rooster’s rescue that day. And since then, employees have taken to dragging the bird in at night and haul-ing him out to the sidewalk again when the store opens. It’s never an easy task, Todd says. But it can be particularly trying after a long night: “You wish you could just throw out some chicken feed and have him walk out.”
The life of the giant is no easy thing. You’re constantly hitting your head on stop lights. Always tripping on small children. And finding a rental car after you touch down at LAX?
Forget about it.
But the good people of Yankee Supply Company, a warehouse supply company in Johnston, have made at least one task a bit easier for the fantastically tall: moving stuff around.
Sitting outside the Yankee Supply compound, perched high above Route 6, is a 12-foot-2-inch-tall, bright red hand truck capable of wheeling around a few pairs of size 48 boots and all your 6-by-8-foot pictures of mom.
No giant has yet to make use of the hand truck, built by a former Yankee Supply employee in the early ’90s. But Luigi Castelli, a company salesman, says it has helped attract business at trade shows — and served as a useful marker for approaching truck drivers.
Only trouble is, it requires a bit of maintenance. The paint chips, the tires crack. “A year ago, this looked awful,” Castelli said, standing alongside the conveyance on a recent afternoon.
So a few months back, the salesman took it home, pulled out a roller, painted it with a coat of red Rust-Oleum, and threw on some new tires — borrowed from an SUV, of course.
Castelli says the company is never all that concerned about theft. It takes a hoist to lift the thing, after all. Unless, of course, you’re a giant.
BETTY THE LEARNED ELEPHANT
Betty the Learned Elephant, Chepachet
Glocester’s highway department, situated on Chestnut Hill Road in the village of Chepachet, is rather unremarkable: a little office building alongside a pair of large, beige sheds.
But behind one of those sheds lies, perhaps, Rhode Island’s premier oddity — a six-foot fiberglass Mr. Potato Head designed to resemble Betty the Learned Elephant.
Who, you may ask, is Betty the Learned Elephant? Well, she was among the first elephants to walk on North American soil.