Fido Buys the Farm

Joe found his dog lying out behind his car, not moving.  He grabbed Fido up and ran him in to the vet.

Vet:  “”I’m sorry.  Your dog is dead.  That’ll be fifty bucks.”

Joe:  “No, he can’t be!”  He threw Fido in the car and drove a few miles to see Vet #2.  This one put him up on the exam table, checked him over good then brought a Labrador Retriever Into the room.  The Lab sniffed Fido, poked him with his foot, but Fido didn’t respond.  Next the vet brought a cat in and waved him over Fido.

Vet#2:  “Sorry, your dog’s dead, alright.  That’ll be three-hundred and fifty dollars.”

Joe:  “Now hold on.  The other vet only charged me fifty dollars!”

Vet #2:  “Yeah, but I did a Lab test and Cat scan!”

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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.

Happy as a Dead Pig in the Sunshine

imageAre you familiar with these good old Southern phrases and how to use them?

“Bless your heart”  means I was “raised right” and can’t call you a dumbass to your face.

“Raised right” means you were in church at least twice every Sunday and are still scared of you little bitty, old mama.  You have to  “Ma’am” and “Sir” folks till the day you die, or Mama will be “hurt.”  You don’t want Mama to be hurt.  You’ll be “lower than a snake’s belly” till one of the other kids messes up.

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

Black as Hell and Smells Just Like Poke Salad

The weather had been unseasonably hot and dry the fall of 1933, the drought extending all the way into November. All eyes scanned the skies periodically, hoping for the rain that would break the drought and bring cooler temperatures. The clouds rolled in, threatening, but produced no rain. The old timers who predicted rain by their rheumatism, declared when Continue reading

“It couldn’t be helped!”

Mother has stage-four Terminal ADD. It hasn’t killed her yet, but it came close several times.  Back when I was a kid, it was called being disorganized, procrastination, and not getting things done. Having five kids, a-worse-than-unhelpful-husband, Mother had more work than six women could have accomplished. That put the icing on the cake.  Daddy should have been a Continue reading

Miss Ruby and the Bagwells

The companionable thing about growing up in the fifties and sixties in the rural South was that everyone went to the same school, churches and knew everything about everyone.  When the women got the kids off to school, beds made, dishes done, wash on the line, and the beans on to soak for supper, they might have a little time to visit a neighbor for coffee before heading home to get the baby down for a nap, finish their Continue reading