Monday, 05 May 2014
Butch, the Easter Chicken
By Marcy Belson
In 1942, Easter morning brought me a little Easter basket with jelly beans and a few chocolate candies - and a tiny dyed yellow chick.
I remember that every child in my family received a yellow chick that year and I also remember the chicks were dyed different colors. You might get a pastel blue or pink. Mine was yellow.
For some unknown reason, I named my chick Butch. I didn't know anyone named Butch but that was the name given the little guy. Good thing, because Butch was a rooster.
I don't remember anyone having the chicks for more than a week or so. They were dispensable and disposable with a short shelf life. Probably no feed was purchased by the family for them and far too much handling by little hands.
They simply disappeared, much as the dime store goldfish that floated on the top of the water after I fed it the half box of food.
But Butch - well, Butch was the exception. He lived with kitchen scraps and a little cardboard box in the back yard. Then Butch learned to crow. At 5:30AM. In a neighborhood of working men, it wasn't a major problem. No one complained, except my parents. I heard them talking about it one morning.
Worse yet, Butch became one mean, aggressive bird. My path to the school began in our back yard - out the back gate, down the alley and, eventually, to the school a few blocks away.
The problem was, Butch didn't take kindly to intruders. Even his six-year-old protector, me, was fair game. My mother's answer to this problem was to provide me with the kitchen broom. I would swing the broom as Butch began his attack and when I reached the back gate, I left the broom there for my return in the afternoons.
Life went on, until the day Butch was out of the back yard pecking his way down the driveway next to the house. My father returned from a long day of working in the hot sun, stepped out of his car and it happened.
Yes, Butch attacked him, climbing right up his leg, pecking and screaming in bird talk.
Without a thought, my father rung his neck. Fortunately, I was not a witness but in my mind, I see it, to this day.
My mother plucked his feathers and fried him for dinner. Then they made the major mistake of telling me who I was eating. That was my last chicken dinner for many years.
I finally mellowed enough to cook chicken and I do eat it in some instances but I'm not a fan of fried chicken.
Poor Butch, the Easter chicken. He met his match in my father.
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