Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Favorite Lightning Squeak!
“Don’t cry mama. It’s OK.”
Did I look disturbed? I wasn’t. I was here for them and their comfort. They weren’t in need.. I’m glad. I mean, I didn’t want them to cry and wail and be distraught and never eat chicken again, but they almost seemed unfazed from this bloody event.
Is this because they are boys? Would girls find the whole process of butchering chickens heart-wrenching? But my boys are sensitive. They care. They emote. My middle especially. He feels and empathizes, I know, I’ve read him many books. He feels the right feelings, gets sucked in, and exudes complete joy at a timely resolution, but on the day of the butchering there was nothing.
They watched. They saw. The started riding their bikes around the shop. It wasn’t a special or unusual event to them. Later that week when I made chicken enchiladas I was the only one choking it down, not due to taste, but due to mental imagery. I kept telling myself it was because I had forgotten where my food came from. I would have to reteach myself what was good and right and natural versus purchasing a bag of eight frozen chicken breasts.
There was one special chicken. At least he was special to me. He was our surprise, rare breed. He was black and white and speckled and had a fancy tail. He was the only one that had been named: Favorite Lightning Squeak. I think I had imagined a bigger connection between Favorite and my sons than there really was. The test of this came on our third Saturday of butchering. (We had ordered a straight run of 25, and just my luck, 17 were male.)
I thought we’d all agreed we’d keep the special one, the unique one. I kept reassuring the boys we’d only kill the white ones, Favorite was our pet.
My husband came in the house to let us know that if we really wanted to save Favorite then we’d better come out and plead our case to my father, Grandpa. I sent each boy out. The first one came back. Grandpa was unmoved. I went out with the second. There wasn’t much response. “I don’t think Grandpa listened to me.” True.
Nope. No more Favorite. All the roosters are gone now. No more leader. No more cock-ca-doodle-doo. Just a small brood of clucking hens, and once again my sons comforted me rather than me comforting them.
“Don’t worry mom. Grandpa said we could get a duck. He says he doesn’t want to eat fertilized eggs. Do ducks fertilize eggs?”
Awesome. Nothing like a little early lesson in procreation.