Monday, May 19, 2014

Chicken Dinner

I made the right at the end of route 12 in Frenchtown and headed up the hill. There was a kid walking along the side of the road and as I approached, he turned and flashed a thumb, hitching a ride. I know that boy, I thought, and pulled over. " Hey Andy, what are you doing hitching? Don't you know there's weirdos out there waiting to kidnap kids like you?" He gave me the teen-aged eye roll as I laughed and he climbed in my old tan VW Beetle....I mean literally: the door did not open meaning all passengers had to get in through the window and he knew this since I had given him rides before. " Hi Peg! You always come along at the right time...I have a wicked bad blister on my heel." So instead of dropping him off at the end of his long driveway, I went all the way down the lane and pulled up to the barn. His dad came to the gate . "Look who I found out wanderin" I said, as Andy climbed back out of my car, his tall lanky frame folding up like an accordion. His  father laughed at the sight, saying "Thanks Peg....I guess someone was dodging chores this morning." "No trouble,  I was just out garage sale-ing and he was in my way." "Well, would you like a chicken for your trouble?" Thoughts of a nice oven stuffer roasting in my kitchen popped into my head. "Sure, thanks, Bob!"

He went into the barn as I started thinking about who to invite to dinner . I heard a bunch of squawking coming from the barn.  Much to my surprise and dismay, he came walking out carrying a live flapping chicken, holding it by it's tied-together feet. "Where do you want her?" I looked at him and tried to be casual. "Oh, just toss her in the back seat." So that's what he did. I gave them a weak smile and with a wave of thanks, drove off with the pissed off chicken.

I knew right then who was having supper with me, the only person I knew who could butcher and dress out a chicken, Dock Sharp. He was an old gent from West Virginia who lived next door to me. He'd be happy to oblige in exchange for a chicken dinner. Problem solved.

I continued on down the road, heading back to town. I saw the cars parked along the street across from a yard sale I had passed by after picking Andy up, and thought I'd stop for a look. By this time, the chicken had seemed to resign herself to her fate and had settled down nicely in the back seat. The yard sale was crowded with shoppers and I thought of skipping it when a car pulled out right there and I was able to grab a spot front and center. I parked, grabbed my bag, opened my door and Pandemonium broke out! The chicken, seeing a chance to make a break for it started up squawking and flapping , and flung herself right out of my car onto the pavement. Every head turned my way as I stood for a moment looking in disbelief at this noisy bitch of a hen, wings a- flapping, feathers flying, screeching bloody murder at my feet. I looked at the crowd, looked back at my car, bent over, grabbed the chicken up by her legs (no easy task, mind you) and flipped her back onto the rear seat, shut the door and calmly, and without a twitch crossed the street, ignoring the raucous clucking and cawing coming from my vehicle.

I nonchalantly walked through the crowd, pretending that having a chicken trussed up and flapping loose in my car was just another work-a-day occurrence. I looked an old guy and said one word. "Supper". I picked up a couple of items just to put a point on it, then just as casually strolled back to my car to the screeching hen. I carefully opened the door, blocking her way out and got in, slamming the door shut. I drove off, head held high, ignoring the snickering laughter and shaking heads.

I have to say, after Dock did his job and that damned hen was simmering on my stove, he and I had a huge laugh over a couple of beers as I told him what had happened.  Pandemonium was a tasty bird, and the freshest chicken I have ever eaten.