About this time every summer several days were set aside to butcher chickens. Yes, believe it or not, that’s what it was called. An assembly line was set up. It involved a chopping block, hatchet, scalding hot water to aid in the plucking, and an alcohol fire for singeing the pinfeathers. And finally, the unfortunate carcass was cut up into pieces.
This genocide was performed by a group of normally nonviolent Christian women with quick, efficient, and lethal hands. A detailed description of what actually happened (and the carnage) is too awful to describe here. But the final product was a chicken wrapped and ready for the freezer.
During my time growing up on the farm, in our hierarchy of animal care, chickens were on the bottommost rung. They were noncompliant, very excitable, and mean. They were also allowed to roam free, so on the typical farmstead they would be everywhere – and so were their droppings. As a result every step I took had to be placed with extreme care to avoid these mini-minefields. I was continually looking at the ground, and I think it permanently affected my posture.
I no longer have the disgusting job of taking care of them. Today my only contact with a chicken is to find a great recipe and then purchase, prepare, and cook the deceased. Ah, sweet (and very tasty) revenge, so what’ll it be – white meat or dark.