As a 3- to 4-year-old visiting Grandpa on his farm, I was asked to catch some chickens for dinner. My brother and I managed to round up three of the cluckers. Grandpa ambled to the chopping block and without notice came down on the block with the ax ... lop went the first head and we watched in stunned silence while that first chicken ran in two great circles, minus head, and then straight into the sack my grandpa had for transporting. Grandpa held that bag up and declared that bird the winner and our next meal.
I won’t tell you about the smell that accompanies the plucking of that chicken. But suffice it to say that this city boy got a quick and unforgettable lesson in country life, and how unfair it was that this chicken which had won, would never know it.
No real point to the story above, but thought I’d throw in Grandpa to let everyone know I had one, and that he had taught me some important lessons.
But it also leads nicely into my comments after reading Jinx Pyle’s story about chickens in his July 17 column. The story about two roosters. Of course, Jinx could not have known he was really telling us something about himself. His Freudian story of growing up identifying with El Bon, and at one point describes at becoming “more and more bitter even approaching the Napoleon syndrome.” I found it inspiring that the columnist Jinx would bare his soul in such a public manner, but of course, self awareness is after all, next to godliness. I was moved by the fact he did not give up, but “would fly at the fence and flog it with his wings trying to get the attention of the hometown chickens.” I became aware of my appreciation, that the chicken was endowed with feathers, because apparently chickens are born with very thin skins, but like all chickens, tend to become self-righteous.
But, I do believe Jinx is being irrational, and too hard on himself, because we enjoy it when he is “eating worms and beating his wings in the dirt” and wish him to go on scratching and cackling. It has become, over time, the best entertainment that Payson has to offer.