04 November 2018

[Bess Tuggle] - Memoirs of Surviving Children: Twice-Dead Chicken Supper

I had a chicken pen when my boys’ were growing up.  Yes, real live chickens and fresh eggs every day.  We shared with friends and neighbors, but there comes a point when you can end up with too many eggs.

When we got too many eggs (believe me, there is such a thing) the boys got to have egg wars in the back yard.

I’d put a basket of old eggs on the back porch, then draw off a circle that each child had to take a turn standing in – while their brothers’ were trying to nail them with eggs.  There was no point system except my laughter, but I can promise none of my children ever “egged” a house.  They got it out of their systems young.

The chicken pen was a quiet, peaceful place for me to hang out.  The boys didn’t want to go down.  That would mean feeding, gathering eggs, watering and scraping up chicken poop.  They didn’t complain about having scrambled eggs, eggs over easy, French toast, boiled eggs, “bird nests” (eggs in toast)…  But they did not want to come down to the chicken pen and I really didn’t complain.  Eating was good.  Helping and feeding was not in young boys’ minds and the escape was worth the work.

The ladies and gent, that’s what I called my chickens, all got along well. 

I let them out most afternoons.  They could forage in the woods, come back to their pen, get fed, lay eggs and be happy.

Somewhere along the line I ended up with two roosters.  Two roosters.  There was serious discourse in the chicken pen then.  None of us were happy anymore.

That’s when I decided to take matters into my own hands.  

I caught the rooster that had decided to turn mean.  He –really- was mean; to me, my hens, the other rooster and anyone else that came close to the pen.

Once caught, I wrung his neck.  I know that’s kind of graphic, but I did.  I threw his carcass outside the door to my chicken pen and proceeded to take care of my ladies and remaining gent.

Didn’t I get fooled.

After laying there for a few minutes, while I took care of my remaining brood, HE JUMPED UP AND RAN INTO THE WOODS!  

This is where you can call me any kind of fool you want to.  I chased him, through the woods, the briars, the pines…  Yes, I chased him.

I finally gave up, tired and scratched up from top to bottom with no rooster in hand.

He came back to the chicken pen though, when the sun was setting.  This time I got it right.  

Plucked, gutted and into the pot he went.

My children will never forget their “Twice-dead chicken” supper.




A jack of all trades, Ms. Tuggle has been a Covington resident since the late 70’s. She's been a K-Mart cashier, cabinet builder, vet tech, office manager for a beef cattle ranch and water well company (where she was able to hold benefits for D.A.R.E. and Scouts), a court reporter, business manager, assistant at a private investigation firm, legal assistant, convenience store clerk, landscaper and elementary school substitute teacher.  Her greatest pleasure is being a wife, mother and grandmother.  Her stories are all real, and all names will be withheld to protect the innocent, and also maybe the guilty, depending on the crime & the Statute of Limitations.  

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