Friday, July 25, 2008

Memior- My Dad, The Chicken Whisperer

The summer I turned 16, I went with my church on a trek. A trek is when you dress up like a pioneer and push a handcart; you spend the entire time learning to live like a pioneer. We cooked over a fire, slept on the ground in sleeping bags, used outhouses, we even had to slaughter our own chickens for dinner (I guess I’ve always been a pioneer, none of this was new to me).
My dad works for a natural gas pipeline and the area we where camping on turned out to be on his right of way, which means he needed to check on the area occasionally. On the evening that we were slaughtering chickens for dinner, my dad came to see how we were all doing. He drove up in his big yellow work truck, I saw kids from the trek running up to him like little street urchins. I learned that he had some old chips and candy that he was handing out. Mind you we weren’t allowed to bring anything to eat, so we had been surviving on potatoes, onions and if we were lucky, a roll. Dad parked his truck and walked around to see how things were going. He said hi to me (I’m his favorite kid), snuck me some candy, and sauntered farther down the camp to see what else was going on. The events that followed have scarred the individuals present to the extent that to this day, they still wake up in the middle of the night drenched in sweat.
My dad had wandered to the area where the chickens were being butchered. He watched with shock as the adults in charge of directing the correct procedure to butcher chickens, instructed one girl to hold the head of the chicken onto a wood stump, another girl to hold onto the body, and a boy to swing a very sharp axe and try to cut off the head of the chicken. I know that the only reason no one had lost a finger was because the Lord was watching. My dad is a seasoned chicken killer so in good conscious he couldn’t stand there and watch a chicken butchered in such an obviously wrong way.
I wasn’t there, all I know is that from the side of camp where they were butchering the chickens, I heard a man scream. I turned, expecting to see a bear attacking the camp. I saw men, women, girls and boys running and screaming in all directions. They’re faces were white and some leaned behind trees to throw-up. I looked for my dad, worried, and saw him standing by himself holding a chicken head in his hand.
The story goes that he was showing the easiest way to butcher a chicken. It was quick, humane, and not so messy since it’s a well known fact that a chicken will flop around after its head has been cut off, plus it didn’t require a virgin to sacrifice her fingers. I’ve seen this method done; we’ve butchered many a chicken at home with this way. Dad took the head of the chicken in his hand, flicked his wrist quickly and with that broke the neck of the chicken, killing it instantly. End of story, easy as pie (please don’t comment if you’ve read my pie story). Unfortunately, this pie didn’t end up so sweet. Dad flicked his wrist but maybe working around so many people made him a little nervous, he flicked his wrist a little too hard. Not only did he break the neck of the chicken he pulled the head right off of the delicious bird with a big “Pop, Plop.” And with that extra flick, the chicken began to flip, flop and run around while blood squirted 5 feet in the air in all directions. It was at this point the chaos began, and there was my dad, standing alone with a chicken head in his hand and blood dripping from the leaves of the trees overhead.

The leaders asked my dad to leave; they said it wasn’t because of the chicken. They said it was because he was handing out candy. I think it was because of the chicken, I think they were lying.


gigi said...

Where did you get that picture? you nut! Mu great aunt kills all her chickens that way. I don't think she has ever bought a chicken at the grocery store. She doesn't buy eggs either. She oly lives 17 miles from me at the price of eggs I should start visiting her more often. But then the price of gas would be about what the eggs are costing at the store these days.

Thank you for the very sweet offer to make us dinner tonight. I'll take you up on it one day when you are in our area. I don't think Nate will ever bring you to Georgia, although I wish he would. I bet I get to Utah before yall ever get to Georgia. I have two sisters who live in SLC and most of Harry's cousins live out there. Sept. will make 3 years since we've been and that's the longest it's been since I was 17 yrs old. So maybe before the year is out we can come. I'll take you to lunch :)

A little ABOUT ME! said...

Now I dont want to eat chicken anymore!!! LOL

Anonymous said...


I found your page from Marshall's facebook page...

I saw your wedding invite when we were living with the Morse' in 2006. Seemed like good news! Looks like you and nate are busy - your stories are written in a very similar way to those of Mary Roach, who used to write monthly for Readers Digest, but is now off writing more of her own books. Very factual and entertaining - you could write short stories for a living, just spell check them first, lol!!

I am typing on a new keyboard, so if I have errors, that is of those new ergonomic boards...

We're in the same place, sometimes. I am 27 now and still working on my BAE. My wife Paula just graduated.

We have one kids, about to work on a second, live in Cheney and go to EWU. I am a prod eagles, now, as I work in the admissions office at the visitors center. We have a friend here who grad'd from UU. She seemed to like it okay.

Anywa, I read most all you wrote to ctch up. Where did you serve? I dsidn't - I did do all the prep and saved money and turned my papers in but President Rhine simply said that my health wasn't good enough to go - so many allergies and whatnot. They call it an honerable excuse or something like that but it doesnt help when everyone is sharing their stories and I'm like 'i didn't go, but let me explain why...'

Anyway - good deal. And, I'll apologize for all the terrible things I did and said in our youth. I was immature and stupid. Though those things havnet changed much, I have learned where I can allow those facets of my personality to show, and where to keep them in.

So, Cheers to you and Nate, and I hope we can visit when we come to visit SLC! I'd love to go ride horses!


P.S. Paula is the blogger here, by far. Typing just this has left me winded - and fair warning - i have gained soooo much weight it is unreal, and I am working on losing 100 pounds, down 15 so far, so you might need an extra monitor...