The Plucked Chicken Mystery

There it lay in all its nudity on the flat-bed of the little trailer behind our brown 1940s Chevy.  We hadn’t killed and plucked any chickens lately, but someone had.

My father, mother, brothers and I marched by it and piled into the car.  I was the only one to glance at the chicken.  All it needed was to be cut up and fried.  Why was it lying out in the open, neglected?

Young as I was, I was sure my folks knew about it.  They knew lots of things.  Surely they had plans.  They never acted without purpose.

We kids sat in back, my brothers facing forward, my parents talking to each other as my father pulled onto the country road.  Our driveway and the roads were all graveled in those days.  I alone watched through the back window to see the trailer jostle that chicken about.  Who had put it there?  A neighbor?

I don’t recall our destination.  To town, to a neighbor’s farm?  Surely we weren’t just going for a ride.  After all, there was that chicken to deal with.  Was it a gift, a surprise from a neighbor, or something left absent-mindedly?

The graveled surface bumped the trailer along, which in turn bumped the chicken.  It jostled toward the back of the trailer.

What did my folks have in mind?  It never occurred to me to translate my wondering into the spoken word.

That chicken wouldn’t lie still.  It trembled and jerked.  Eventually it jounced to the edge and fell from sight.

I quit watching, assuming my folks’ purpose had been served.  Get rid of the chicken.  But why had they chosen such a strange way to do it?

Over the years, I puzzled about the plucked chicken.  Answers to my questions came with the gathering of experience and wisdom.  The others in the family had walked by it because they didn’t see it.  Was their blindness a lack of focus?  No.  They had narrowed their focus to other things.  Someone must have left that chicken as a surprise gift.  In a way I regret not saying anything at the time because of what my family missed.  That chicken was a delicious meal, for scavengers.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Brian Piper
    May 06, 2013 @ 13:41:50


    Well I certainly don’t remember that chicken you described, but I certainly do remember a few other chickens going the full route, from beheading to hot bath and feather pulling. I almost forgot how there were more than just feathers to pull, but also lots of tiny feathers as well (if I remember correctly). I thought much about chicken killing process, but never felt sorry for the poor critters.

    They tasted good fried. Not knowing better I often ate a leg and not necessarily the breast meat, the best of the pot.

    I saw some pictures George had posted on Facebook this morning. Some had explanatory text. One picture of me holding a baby, where and when I have no idea. I do not know which baby but it was either Matthew or an earlier child I know nothing about anymore. There were also a couple of much older shots of our family, and one of me on my motor scooter. I certainly looked younger! Hey, I was not always an old timer. Oh, and I believe there were no photos of Edith or Lloyd. I saved a copy of the photos and could send them if you like, or maybe you could see them yourself via Facebook. Personally, I have very few photos of the past. But hearing your recollections is certainly entertaining.

    Little brother Brian, now 67.

    ps. Don’t know if the email address and name below are supposed to be mine or yours. I’ll assume mine. And I do not have a web site. And I assume this email gets to you via the “Post” below.


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