Thursday, June 10, 2010

sunday dinner

Sunday Dinner was a big, white fearsome rooster.  He ruled the hen house with iron spurs and a cut throat beak.  I was terrified of him.

At a very young age I was the keeper of the family chickens, responsible for every aspect of their well being.  I gave those chickens their food, water and oyster shells (these made for very strong shells), opened the door to let them out to enjoy the sunshine and bugs, and gathered and washed their eggs.  A very thankless job, as I don't recall a single one of those chickens ever saying thank you, but I digress.

Sunday Dinner was even less thankful.  That rooster hated me with a vengeance.  Every time I entered the chicken coop that rooster was lying in wait to deter the intruder of his domanin.  He wasn't going to let me get those eggs come hell or high water.  He would come at flapping his wings and clawing with his great claws, and go straight for my face.  I hated that rooster with a passion and taking care of those chickens was hell for me.

To make matters worse, Sunday Dinner wasn't afraid of my dad.  My dad, who has a penchant for naming animals after the foods they would become, would walk into the chicken coop with me, and that rooster would just stand in the corner watching us.  He would try to flap his wings at us, but my dad wouldn't stand for that and back into the corner that rooster would go.  Dad also tried to teach me not to be afraid of Sunday Dinner and show him who was boss, but I could never past his powerful wing span that beat against me every time he got close enough to inflict pain upon me.  I was plain scared of Sunday Dinner.  He was largest, meanest rooster I knew.  Granted he was the only rooster I knew, but still.

Dad wasn't always available to go out there with me, so I enlisted my brother Raymond to act as my body guard against Sunday Dinner.  Hey, I needed all help I could get!  Raymond grabbed a broom and followed me out to the chicken coop.  At the door I sent Raymond through first, and followed close behind.  As soon as Sunday Dinner caught sight of me, the attack began, and Raymond began beating him off me with the broom while I gathered eggs and checked the feeders and waterers.  Without my brother, that rooster would have gotten me good.  I was always glad my brother had my back.  It made my job a little easier.

As for Sunday Dinner, he never did live up to his name.  Instead, he lived a very long and not so fruitful life, as none of those eggs he was diligently guarding ever got a chance to hatch.  He was outside one day, scratching for bugs and enjoying the sunshine when he dropped dead in his tracks.  Dad was pretty sad about that, and dug a grave for him somewhere by the chicken coop.

After gathering all those eggs and washing them, and taking care of all those chicken, I couldn't eat eggs for many years.  Eggs just simply grossed me out.  I was okay with eggs that were mixed into baked goods and other things, but scrambled eggs, fried eggs and boiled eggs just made my gag reflex kick in.  It was years before I was able to eat scrambled eggs or even hard fried eggs.  Just last year I was able to eat my first boiled egg without tossing my cookies.  And don't even try to get me to eat a eggs over easy, blegh!

I don't have fond memories of taking care of the chickens or of Sunday Dinner, but I do have good memories of my brother Raymond who always had my back when I was up against that devil of a rooster.

all images via


Wayne said...

You need to tell more chicken/house stories. Green eggs, colored eggs, different colors of hens, the attic of the chicken house adventure. Mother calling the home teacher, Max, because the chickens were going to starve. Rebeccas ducks. And on and on. Think of what you learned from Sunday Dinner and chicken house chores in general. You are who you are today, in part, thanks to Sunday Dinner. One of your brothers was disapointed that we didn't eat Sunday Dinner. Mom couldn't presure cook him long enough to get the toughness out of that fowl old bird.

Raymond said...

Christine, I loved this post. It was a great story. I've never heard of Sunday Dinner.

Wayne said...

Me thinks that you learned and grew doing the hard chicken job, why you even fed and watered Sunday Dinner. He was a big leghorn rooste, and while you could not overcome your fear of him you did figure out how to make the best of the job I had given you. That gave you charecter.

A rooster causes the hens to lay more eggs. Also the term "male chavinist pig" is really mild if you live around a farm, "male chavinist rooster" is much worse and graphic. If we only had a few hens their tail feathers were gone as a result of rooster action.

While the school bus taught you many new words as well as a smattering of sex, the farm was a much more graphic teacher. Remember Raymonds rabbit Buckenhimer?

We liked brown eggs, so most of our hens laid brown eggs, but we also had ones who laid green eggs, different color eggs, they were Easter egg hens. One time I was given a bunch of bantum chickens that were varied in their colloring and feather distribution. They were beautiful.

When Sunday Dinner came at me I would kick him and that would usually put a stop to his agression. Sometimes I would catch him and pull his comb and wattel, all the time explaning to him that I was the boss. Then I would put his head under his wing and rock him to sleep. When he woke up he didn't know what happened.

Remember the time we slaughtered our meat chickens an de feathered them ther with the jail cook and her boys helping. It was hard work and a mess. After the chickens were dead they were dipped in boiling water and then run through the "de featherer" what a mess with wet feathers all over the place. You then had to singe them to get the hair off. After the guts were gone and the cavity washed, into the plastic bags and on to the freezer. You have to admit that we had good eating chickens. From then on I took them to a poltry slaughter house and picked them up in nice plastic bags for about $1.00 a chicken, well worth it.

Raymond came home wone time after the rest of the kids were mostly raised and was upset that there were no chickens. I explained to him that I was raising kids and not chickens.

There were times I didn't think it would ever end and when it did it wasn't as much fun. I think that all six of you learned from the chickens, cow, steers, rabbits, and pigs. You are all in a minority in knowing that hour eats came from the garden or the animels we raised, and not from the grochery store.

Anonymous said...

hey sis here i am