Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Rooster

These Canada geese live near us and are frequent pests visitors to my parents' back yard, where my mother has set up a 24/7 Goose Buffet feeding and watering station for them. The story below is not about geese but about another bird, the chicken, or more specifically a rooster.

My mother has written another story from her childhood in Gloucester, where her parents ran a country store in what is now the music room and main office of Ware Academy (formerly the Day School) in Gloucester.


A Personal Rooster
by Chesapeake Bay Mother

Male chickens, if numerous, are unwelcome in a flock for the following reasons:

1. Only one rooster is needed per chicken yard to keep the girls egg-motivated.
2. They usually aren't good eating...too tough and stringy.
3. They don't lay eggs.

One is tempted to see a barnyard parable coming.

They do strut around and announce the sunrise, with a wide margin of error. Saturated in hostility and suspicion, they are armed with ankle harpoons called spurs, which are capable of gashing rawhide. Once I saw a rooster open up a woman's wrist in a way befitting a highly motivated suicide attempt; and she was trying to feed him. Needless to say, they don't attract friends. They do inspire fear, perspiration, palpitations and personal bests in sprints.

My pet rooster, "Alawishus," may have been something of an anomaly. A gift from my best friend in sixth grade, he was kindly trained in his first moments of life to provide a people-friendly foundation. That training seemed to tone down his natural inclinations. Or perhaps I flatter myself and should credit his congenital limp for his congeniality. At any rate, he was beautifully colored, if somewhat awkward in a chase, giving advantage to fleeing humans.

He had no fan in my father. Especially when he would station himself under our house and practice his scales for the following morning's cantata. My father never cursed, but you could tell by the way he bit his lip that he really wanted to lay down some four-letter words. I feared for old Alawishus.

The trick in dealing with Alawishus was to make offense your defense. When I saw him getting in character for the role God had made his burden, I would rush up and grab him before he worked up too much macho, and place him in my lap stroking his face just under the eye. (You know, this might have worked on Husband.) This action promptly made him doze off, losing his page in the book of Fowl Assault. When finished stroking, I would put him down and he'd just walk off like some disoriented, feathered amnesiac.

The Browns, our neighbors across Indian Road, had a flock of chickens in a pen. One morning I noticed a small chicken-shaped dust cloud moving across the field that separated us. He had evidently used his mystic mind control to lure one of their laying hens to wrench herself free from captivity and join him in a poultry rendezvous. I felt guilty about such an ill-gotten chicken gain, but after all she had come of her own volition and seemed content.

So it was that they lived happily ever after, roosting in the Canadian Hemlock in our front yard, until each died from natural causes, hopefully. At least that is the story I was told.

To be safe, I gave up eating chicken for a while.


Grandma J said...

I just learned more about roosters than I ever thought I would in a million years. My grandparents raised chickens and turkeys on a small scale. My grandmother used to ask me to help feed them and I was scared to death, and I don't even think there was a rooster in the pen. Thank goodness because who knew they had weapons that could slice you open!
Thank you for the tutorial!

Mental P Mama said...

I had no idea about roosters. And I'm glad I don't have a hormonal fixation on them these days. I just want a puppy.

mmm said...

LIM will make a strict-vegetarian out of me yet.

Margaret Cloud said...

We had a rooster once and he was mean, he had a run in with our dog and won, he was a Rhode Island Red and he was very pretty. I enjoyed your story very much.

Annie said...

My son when he was young had a nasty scare with a rooster. Can't remember whether the rooster lived to tell the tale or not.

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

GJ - I wish there was a video of you feeding those turkeys. I'd pay top dollar.

MPM - I see a puppy in your future but a rooster would be less work.

MMM- Rooster. Tastes like chicken? Yeah, I could actually seriously be a vegetarian if somebody else did all the cooking and preparation. And purchasing of the groceries. And cleaning of the dishes. And laundry. And vacuuming. And taking out the trash.

Mrs. Cloud - I feel sorry for that dog. Rhode Island Reds are beautiful though.

Annie - I hope your son wasn't hurt too badly. I also hope you're having a great time in NY.

Anonymous said...

..guess I need to get our more often.

Daryl said...

I dont eat meat or chicken or rooster ... just fish and veggies ..

foolery said...

"They do strut around and announce the sunrise, with a wide margin of error."

" . . . in a way befitting a highly motivated suicide attempt . . . "

" . . . a small chicken-shaped dust cloud moving across the field . . . "

Please tell CBMother that these three lines had me dabbing at my eyes here at work today, and it WOULD be the one day I wore eye makeup.

From a chicken fan and, *ahem*, rooster-baiter, I salute you, CBMother.

You too, Miss Cheeky. ;)

foolery said...

I had to come back and read this again; I found two new places to laugh myself silly.

And I sent it to both of my brothers, who were my chicken-loving partners in crime as kids.


disa said...

I love it ! Very creative ! That's actually really cool Thanks.