Community landmarks come in all shapes, sizes and species, and in one part of Prince William County, a brightly painted, four-foot-tall metal rooster served as a kind of informal signpost for drivers.
At least it did until it disappeared one weekend late last month, said Leanne Dronet, who put the rooster near the mailbox at her house on Nokesville Road (Route 28) in the Bristow area.
Dronet described the loss on social media and set up a Facebook page in the rooster’s name to help raise money for a replacement.
Strangers, who had known little about the whys and wherefores of the proud poultry specimen, responded by describing their own sense of loss.
“I’d never realized people noticed it,” Dronet said. But it seemed that they had.
“My drive Monday morning just won’t be the same,” read one message, posted shortly after the disappearance.
“I love and miss that rooster,” read another.
Fundraising efforts began, including a lemonade stand operated by Dronet’s sons, 8 and 15.
The funds grew in a gratifying manner, but they seemed short of the amount needed to purchase a new rooster and to root him more firmly than before to Dronet’s property.
Then one large donation arrived, amounting to $340 — enough, Dronet said, to satisfy all rooster-related needs and leave something extra for a neighborhood project.
The family had painted the first rooster in colors reflecting significant times of the year. When taken, he was resplendent in red, white and blue, with stars and stripes to celebrate the Fourth of July.
The anonymous benefactor, Dronet said, had one request. He wanted burgundy and gold — for the Washington Redskins.