The Rooster and the Boozers


The Austins lived just across the pasture from us.  Jody Austin “drank.”  In our neck of the woods, “drinking” meant a man was disreputable, deprived and likely beat his wife and children, probably didn’t hold a job, and likely was prone to violence.  It sounded a lot like today’s alcoholic.  Jodie qualified magnificently.  It was rumored that he had shot a man in a bar.  Folks left Jody alone.  Every Saturday night Jody hosted his “drinking” buddies for a binge. The festivities started with a huge bonfire.  As they sat around on barrels, old cars, and broken lawn chairs, they tossed their cans out in the darkness. They got louder, sometimes had a friendly fight, occasionally rolling all around the fire, finishing off with a little singing…a treat for all the neighbors. 

When Jody got good and drunk, he started crowing, trying to wake his rooster!  Jody had a fine crowing voice. But roosters are territorial, determined to keep their harem to themselves.  Since roosters habitually are “early to bed and early to rise,” it usually took about four tries to get Rudy the Rooster going.  His first response was usually half-hearted and anemic.  Roo-ooh- ooh-ooh-ooh-oooooh.  He obviously needed his rest.  Jody’s buddies took a turn crowing.  Rudy was riled now and ready for a rooster fight, but couldn’t find a single rooster to whip.  The partiers thought this was high humor.  They all took turns crowing.  After a particularly authentic crow, Rudy called back “ROOH-OOH-OOH-OOH-OOOOOOH!!!”  The longer the competition went on, the madder Rudy got.  He must have hated Saturday nights and drinking…

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