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.

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Joke of the Day

.A person receives a telegram informing about his mother-in-law’s death.

It also enquires him whether she should be buried or cremated.

He replies, “Don’t take chances. Burn the body and bury the ashes!”

Do you know the punishment for bigamy?
Two mother-in-law’s!
What is the difference between a vulture and your mother-in-law?
Vultures wait until you’re dead to pick on you.

Q. What’s the definition of mixed emotions?

A. When you see your mother-in-law backing off a cliff in your new car.

Mr. Bradley and the Old Floozies

mr_bradleyRepost:

Mr. Bradley died!! Mr. Bradley died!!

This was unbelievable! I had seen people get shot on “Gunsmoke,” but I’d never known anyone who had actually died. I knew I was supposed to cry when someone died but I couldn’t manage it. First of all, Mr. Bradley was an old grouch. He wore khaki pants and shirt and an old gray felt hat with oil stains around the hat band. He was really selfish. He had built us a chicken house. When I went out later to Continue reading

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

Good Old Sue

Trouble had its own plan and always lurked in the shadows waiting to jump me.  The simplest thing could go wrong.  There was just no way to anticipate what was down the road.  Billy and Troy were out of pocket when Uncle Parnell was ready to leave.  Daddy sent me and Sue to look for them.  Jamey and Froggy told us they had seen Continue reading

Mixed Nuts (Part II of III)

Repost:

When you are dealing with family, it clarifies things to have a scale.  You don’t have to waste time analyzing people when you have a ready reference.  This one works pretty well for us.

1.Has a monogrammed straight jacket and standing reservation on mental ward.

2.Family is likely to move away without leaving forwarding address. Has jail time in the past or the future

3.People say, “Oh, crap. Here comes Johnny.”

4.Can go either way.  Gets by on a good day.  Never has been arrested.  Can be  lots of fun or a real mess. Relatives usually will invite in for coffee.  Likely to have hormone-induced behavior.

5.Regular guy. Holds down a job.  Mostly takes care of business.  Probably not a serial marry-er.  Attends  church when he has to.

6.Good fellow. Almost everybody likes him or her. Volunteers for Habitat for Humanity.  Manages money well enough to retire early.

7.High achiever.  Business is in order.  Serves on city council.

8.Looks too good to be true. What’s really going on?

9.Over-achiever. Affairs are in order.  Solid citizen.  Dull, dull, dull.  Could end up as a 1 Continue reading

Dee Gibbs and Dishwater Soup

Of all the hobos who made their rounds periodically, Mama and the three of us kids despised Dee Gibbs the most, though we would have been hard pressed to come up with what was the worst: his smell, his voracious appetite, or his refusal to take the broadest hint that his welcome had worn thin. It was a mystery why Daddy tolerated him, but after Continue reading

The Trouble With Ducks

I loved hearing my grandpa Roscoe get cranked up on a good story. His best were about devilish pranks he was part of as a boy.  This is one of my favorites.

duck drowning         ” I was over at my friend Everitt’s house one day.  For some reason, his mama didn’t like me much, so I pretty much tried to steer clear of her.  Well, we’d been to the barn to get Everitt’s cane pole and was headed for the creek, when we noticed that Miz Maxey, Everitt’s mama, had let her flock of ducks out. She was real proud of them ducks.  There was a mama duck with about a dozen ducklings just ahead of us.  They was just tiny little things, probably was gonna be their first time in the water.  Mama Duck went right on in with her brood following her.  They swam just like they’d been doing it for years.  Just as they was about to get to the other side, one of us (I think it must’ve been Everitt) chunked a piece of wood in the creek.  Them and their mama ducked under and come up on the other side.  I was on that other side and chunked it back across.  They ducked under and come up on the other side again.  It was so funny, I guess we’d done it more than we realized before we noticed fewer ducks were coming up.  We also hadn’t noticed Miz Maxey headed our way, mad as hops.  She’d seen what we was up to and I took off.  Last I knew, she was whaling Everitt, and yelling after me, “Run, you little devil, run!  I’ll git you next time!”  I kept my distance for a good long time!”

Jody’s Name Was Mud

It usually took two or three tries to get Jody out of bed on schooldays, but weekends were a totally different story.  He was always up before daylight watching cartoons.  He wasn’t supposed to go outdoors before Mom and Dad got up but today, it was impossible to resist.  Rain had been coming down all week, so the ditches were muddy rivers, a perfect Continue reading