I hate that I haven’t been on here much lately. I have to tell you though; I have been busier than a one armed paper hanger. I have been backed up like the septic system at the old folk’s home after the prune Danish cook-off. I have been hopping like a one legged man at an ass kicking contest. I have been running around like a chicken with my head cut off. To put it bluntly I’ve been doing stuff.
I do have to admit, though, that brings to mind a story. Oh stop whining, grab a glass of lemonade and just enjoy the ride.
Little Gladys loved her quirky cousins. She loved everything about them. She loved that they were rough and tumble. She loved that they toted her around like a grain sack. She loved that they made up little nick-names for her like Ga-nat and Heebee Geebee. She loved that they would get down in the floor and play Babies and then dress her up like a Barbie. Nope there wasn’t anything she didn't love about her cousins. She knew they loved her too because they would pack her up and take her all kinds of places with them. One of her favorite places they took her was to their other grandmother’s house. Her name was Mamaw. She was everything her name entailed. She could cook and clean. She could milk the cows, slop the hogs and chase down the chickens. She had peacocks and peahens to keep the rattlesnakes away. She had big sweet smelling quilts on her beds and sheets dried outside on a clothesline. Mamaw was everything Gladys thought a grandmother should be. Gladys didn’t have a grandmother since her sweet Nanny had passed away, but she wasn’t above stealing Mamaw from her quirky cousins.
Mamaw lived on a little farm outside of town and it was heaven. Gladys loved driving over the railroad tracks and into the farm yard. The chickens would scatter, the peacocks would unfold their vibrant tales and the peahens would let out a screeching that sounded like a whole passel of children were being beat. Gladys lit from the car and bolted toward the chickens chasing them until the rooster had enough and turned the tables and chased after Gladys. The rooster puffed out his feathers lifted up his head and charged towards her at full velocity. Gladys stopped dead in her tracks eyes wide mouth open as Fred the rooster charged her. She ran screaming into Mamaw’s lap. Mamaw was sitting in her chair shelling peas and shucking corn and Gladys climbed right up in the middle of all of it and stuck her nose into Mamaw's neck and breathed in that earthy scent of soap and sweat and maybe a little bit of Pink Sachet. “Child you best not get that rooster riled he’s libel to spur you like a wild stallion” she warned and unpeeled Gladys from her neck and with one hand still shelling peas with the other. She placed Gladys back down on the ground. “Now you go on out there and gather you up some of them peacock feathers” she said as she gathered up her vegetables and headed into the kitchen.
She entered the kitchen and within minutes the world’s best smells burst through the window saturating every inch of the yard. Gladys hid under the fig tree where it was nice and cool while the older kids wrestled and gossiped. When Gladys could no longer stand the growling in her stomach she eased her way out of the fig tree fortress careful not to disturb the five million wasps and snuck into the kitchen. Gladys stood at the door watching as Mamaw performed the most beautiful ballet. She sashayed and pivoted as the bacon was sliced and tossed into the bottom of the pan where it sizzled and crackled. Then she tossed in the freshly shelled black-eyed peas. She glided as she added a pinch of salt and pepper and her secret ingredient that came in an amber bottle. She covered the whole thing in water and floated back to where she had her corn and potatoes. She stood slicing up big fat juicy red tomatoes when her eyes rested on Little Gladys “you want to pick out a chicken?” Gladys squealed with glee “YES Ma’am! I would love to pick me out one of them chickens. Can I pick any of them?” Mamaw looked past her out to the yard and replied “Well, you can’t pick that old cock out there but you can pick any of them girls. You know the difference?” Gladys nodded her head in the affirmative and ran out to pick out her chicken.
She was so excited. She had always wanted to live on a farm and now she was going to have her very own chicken. She skipped around the yard looking at each and every one of the beautifully colored hens. She had names for all of the them. The big red one was Henrietta, and then there was the little brown and yellow one who she called
Justcallmefay because she kind of reminded her of her new step-grandmother, JustCallMeFay. Gladys hadn’t ever met anyone with a name like that but when her granddaddy introduced her to his new bride and she asked her name she said “Justcallmefay”. Her favorite hen was the one she called Chicken Little.
She liked the little white hen because she reminded Gladys of the book they read at story time about the little chicken that ran around yelling “the sky is falling, the sky is falling.” Well Gladys loved that story and now she knew just which hen she wanted. She marched right up the back steps and opened the screen door. She wiped her feet and plodded right on into Mamaw’s kitchen. “Mamaw, I know which one I want.” Mamaw finished drying off her knife and wiped her hands on the towel. “Is that right? You know which one? Was it a hard choice” she asked as she turned and headed out the door with Gladys on her heels. “No ma’am. I just thought about which one was my favorite and I figured if you didn’t mind that would be the one I wanted.” Mamaw grabbed the little hatchet from the stump and looked around the yard “Which one is it?” Gladys pointed toward the pretty little hen pecking at the dirt “Chicken Little. I want Chicken Little.” Mamaw crossed the yard in two steps reached out and grabbed the little hen up in one movement. She turned and chopped off that chickens head like she was cutting through butter, tossed the head in the bucket and was back at Gladys’ side. Mamaw didn’t believe in a lot of unnecessary commotion.
Gladys stood mouth agape eyes the size of grapefruit. She tried to scream or laugh or talk or anything but nothing was happening. She had just watched a murder. She was a witness to the murder of Chicken Little. She turned and looked up at Mamaw mouth still wide open. Mamaw wiped her hands on her dish towel and said “we’ll pluck the feathers just soon as she gets done rushin round spurtin blood.” Gladys let out a little squeak. Mamaw looked down at Gladys’ stricken face and realized that this wasn’t exactly what Gladys had in mind “you best shut your mouth afore the flies get in.”
So that is the story of Chicken Little and Gladys running around like a chicken with her head cut off. Oh and just so you know, that was some of the tastiest fried chicken I have ever eaten in my life.