The Sad Saga of the Beakless, Tailless, Gizzard-bobbing, One-leg Hopping chicken

Repost of an earlier post.

Being a farm kid is not for sissies and cowards. The dark side of the chicken experience is slaughtering, plucking, cleaning, and preparing chickens for the pot.  I watched as Mother transformed into a slobbering beast as she towered over the caged chickens, snagging her victim by the leg with a twisted coat-hanger, ringing its neck and releasing it for its last run.  We crowded by, horribly thrilled by what we knew was coming.  It was scarier than ”The Night of the Living Dead”,  as the chicken, flapping its wings, running with its head hanging crazily to one side, chased us in ever larger circles until it finally greeted Saint Peter at the Pearly Gates.  It looked horribly cruel, but done properly, a quick snap of the wrist breaks the chicken’s neck instantly, giving a quick death. Of course, this is my assessment, not the unfortunate chicken. The chickens always looked extremely disturbed.

Afterward, my mother grabbed the dead chicken, plunged it into a pot of boiling water, plucked the feathers, slit its pimply white belly, removed its entrails, cut off its feet and head, and prepared it for dinner.  I was repulsed  when Mother found  unlaid eggs in the egg cavity and used them in cooking.  That just didn’t seem right.  I was happy to eat the chicken, but future eggs….disgusting.  It kind of seemed like genocide, or chickenocide, to coin a new term.

Mother looked out one day and saw one of her chickens eating corn, oblivious to the fact that her gizzard was hanging out, bobbing up and down merrily as she pecked corn with all her lady friends.  Apparently she had suffered injury from a varmint of some kind.  Clearly, she wouldn’t survive with this injury, so Mother and I set about catching her.  At least she could be salvaged for the table.  Well, she could still run just fine.  We chased her all over the yard with no luck.

Finally, Mother decided to put her out of her misery by shooting her.  She missed.  She fired again and shot the hen’s foot off.  I knew I could do better.  I shot her beak off, then hit her in the tail.  By this time, we both felt horrible and had to get her out of her misery.  Her injuries had slowed the poor beakless, tailless, gizzard-bobbing, one-leg hopping chicken down enough so we could catch her and wring her neck.

All chickens didn’t end life as happily.  The LaFay girls, Cheryl, Terry, and Cammie raised chickens to show at the fair for 4-H, with a plan to fill their freezer with the rest.  Late one Thursday evening while their widowed mother was at work, they realized tomorrow was the day for the big barbecue chicken competition.  Mama wouldn’t be in until way too late to be helping with slaughtering and dressing the chickens.  After all the time and effort they had put in on their project, they had no choice but to press forward without Mama’s help.  They’d helped Mama with the dirty business of putting up chickens lots of times.  They’d just have to do manage on their own.

Cheryl, the eldest, drew the short straw, winning the honor of wringing the chicken’s neck.  She’d seen Mama do it lots of times, but didn’t quite understand the theory of breaking the neck with a quick snap.  She held the chicken by the neck,  swung it around a few times in a wide arc,  giving it a fine ride, and released it to flee drunkenly with a sore neck.   The girls chased and recaptured the chicken a couple of times, giving it another ride or two before the tortured chicken managed to fly up in a tree, saving its life.

Acknowledging her sister’s failure, Terry stepped up to do her duty.  She pulled her chicken from the pen, taking it straight to the chopping block, just like she’d seen Mama do so many times.  Maybe she should have watched a little closer.  Instead of holding the chicken by the head  and chopping just below with the hatchet, Terry held it by the feet.  The panicked chicken raised its head, flopped around on the block, and lost a few feathers.  On the next attempt, Cammie tried to help by holding the chicken’s head, but wisely jumped when Terry chopped, leaving the poor chicken a close shave on its neck.

indian-dress-and-henBy now, all three girls were squalling.  Cheryl tied a string on the poor chicken’s neck, Cammie held its feet and they stretched the chicken across the block.  By now, Terry was crying so hard so really she couldn’t see.  She took aim, and chopped Henny Penny in half, ending her suffering.   Guilt-stricken, they buried the chicken.  Defeated, they finally called their Aunt Millie, who came over and helped them kill and dress their chickens for the competition, which they won.  All’s well that ends well.

Advertisements

Common Sense and the Camper (Part 2)

https://nutsrok.wordpress.com/2015/11/18/common-sense-and-the-camper/

CamperOne of the great benefits of my parent’s cross-country camping trip was that they had the opportunity to share their cab-over camper for three weeks with two hormone-ridden teenage girls.  For some reason, they’d taken leave of their senses and forced my sixteen-year-old sister Marilyn to accompany them, though she could have stayed with either me or Phyllis, either of whom were as married and dull as Mother and Daddy ever thought of being.  They sweetened the pot by letting her friend Rhonda who became every bit as unpleasant as Marilyn after a few snug hours together.

In the way of teenagers everywhere, the girls snored snugly in their bunks all day as the camper passed the glorious sites of the Americas.  As a result, both were wide-awake and ready to go when they stopped to make camp every evening.  At an RV camp in Las Vegas, two young ladies who looked to have complicated social situations dawdled about the office as they checked in.  Before, I go on with this story, you need to know, my dad was a no-nonsense “I ain’t worried if you like me.  I’m your Daddy” kind of guy.  He didn’t put up with any nonsense.  He pointed out that RV Camp Girls looked trampy.  Though Marilyn and Rhonda didn’t even talk to them, they got a nice lecture just in case they’d ever thought of dressing or acting “like them trashy gals,”  a term he often used make a point and make his girls’ blood boil.

They made camp and cooked supper outdoors.  About ten o’clock as their evening drew to a close Daddy told his disgusted girls it was about time to turn out the lights and settle in for the night.  After a long day of napping, naturally, they dawdled.  After a couple of warnings, just as the lights went out, there was a knock at the camper door.  He opened it to find the two young lovelies they’d seen at the office earlier in the day.  One of them was obviously pregnant below her brief halter-top.

“Can your girls go out for a while?  We’ve got dates for them?” they asked, invitingly.

Behind him, Mother and the big-eyed girls waited for him to explode into a vitriolic diatribe at their request.  Instead, he replied as calmly as if he had been at a tea-party and asked if he wanted “one lump or two.”

“Well, I guess not, but thanks for inviting them.  We have to leave pretty early in the morning.”

Pigs flew and Hell froze over.

The Sad Saga of the Beakless, Tailless, Gizzard-bobbing, One-leg Hopping chicken

Repost of an earlier post.

Being a farm kid is not for sissies and cowards. The dark side of the chicken experience is slaughtering, plucking, cleaning, and preparing chickens for the pot.  I watched as Mother transformed into a slobbering beast as she towered over the caged chickens, snagging her victim by the leg with a twisted coat-hanger, ringing its neck and releasing it for its last run.  We crowded by, horribly thrilled by what we knew was coming.  It was scarier than ”The Night of the Living Dead”,  as the chicken flapping its wings, Continue reading