Thursday, November 21, 2013

Chickening Out!

Thanksgiving is next week, which begins our holiday season.  I always look forward to this time of year because of the memories that are made, the time we share with each other, and the overall joy of the season.  I also enjoy remembering holidays past and the stories passed down of my family's early holiday celebrations.

Memories, holidays, Thanksgiving

With the push for us to become more conscious of the food we eat, the memories of my grandmother and farm-fresh poultry keep flooding back into my mind.  Her great love of cooking with the freshest of ingredients has to be one of my all-time favorite stories.

My grandmother's father passed away much too early in life, causing my great-grandmother to have to find a full-time job so she could feed her family .  Because of this, the oldest children had to take on many responsibilities around their home since she wasn't able to be a stay-at-home mother any longer.  One of the responsibilities my grandmother was given was to prepare and cook meals for the family.

My  great-grandmother would pick up the fresh poultry, meat, or seafood from the local market and then my grandmother would prepare most of the meal.  Beef or pork was usually prepped by the local butcher, but poultry was exclusively prepped by my great-grandmother in their kitchen.  My grandmother watched many times as her mother would bring home a live chicken with a bag over its head, wring the chicken's neck, pluck the feathers, and give it to my grandmother who would have dinner cooking in no time at all. 

When my grandmother got married, she felt confident she could perform the task of preparing a chicken and decided to surprise her new husband with a fantastic meal.  She went out and purchased a live chicken complete with the requisite bag over its head.  She brought that chicken home and like an expert, wrung that chicken's neck just as she'd seen her mother do thousands of times before.  My grandmother laid the lifeless chicken down on her cutting surface and took a few steps away to retrieve some implements to assist with the rest of the prep work.  She turned back to....... nothing.  The chicken had disappeared!

With a quick glance around the kitchen she found the darned thing, and it wasn't dead like she'd thought.  That crazy chicken was running and flying in circles around her kitchen pecking anything that came near it.  That was one very angry chicken and it wasn't going down without a fight!

Not knowing what to do and being completed freaked out by this psycho-killer chicken, she did what any smart red-blooded Southern woman would do.......... she started screaming for my grandfather at the top of her lungs!

My grandfather came running ready to slay whatever dragon was trying to injure his new bride.  He came running with such speed that he slid around the doorway of the kitchen.  The sight which greeted him around that corner was not exactly what he was expecting.  My grandmother was running and hopping around the kitchen as the very angry and vengeful chicken chased and pecked at her with that hood still clamped tightly over its head!

Not being able to control himself, my grandfather started laughing hysterically.  He caught the chicken and took care of the task my grandmother hadn't quite perfected yet.  He slayed her dragon and was her knight in shining armor.  Ok, so it was just a chicken but I bet if you were being chased by one, you'd understand her fear and why she conveyed the title of Knight of the Realm upon him. 

From that day forward, my grandmother always made sure that whatever chicken she was getting ready to prepare was thoroughly....... deceased............ and my grandfather was stood by close at-hand in case she needed any back-up or rescuing from another psycho chicken.

Wishing you many happy memories as you prepare for Thanksgiving and the upcoming holidays.  And if you've got a fun memory, please feel free to share it!

by:  Christie Bielss

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