Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Killing Chickens

My brother, Adam, and I were talking about our childhood yesterday, and particularly our time in Stave Falls, and particularly the chicken shed. It got me to thinking...

I hate chickens. Not the dead ones; I like them,  mostly barbequed with a bit of extra sauce, fried is really good too. It's the live ones that I find so egregious, so repugnant, so detestable. This is most certainly a result of the chicken shed that was the bane of my childhood life in Stave Falls.

The chicken shed was a terror of terrors, filled with mean, nasty stupid chickens clambering about in the mud and shit, covered with lice, pecking and scratching at me as I came in to shovel the crap out of their house. The chicken shed looked just as nasty from the outside as it did from the inside, a ramshackled slant barely upright and certainly ready to tumble in any sort of wind, a board and batten vertical in its own insanity attesting to the undeserved staying power of hurried construction. Yet tumble it did not, stay up it did.

Turkeys aren't much better than chickens. What they lack in intelligence they certainly make up for in plain, bloody minded meanness. I know this because every year my Dad would bring home a live turkey that we would fatten up for Thanksgiving or Christmas, one or the other. One of my chores, a chore shared unwillingly by the other children too, was feeding that big, pecking, poking monster in the bowels of our dirt floored basement.

I liked the barn better. It had cows and horses in it. Pigs too, although your basic grunter is so non-discriminating in his or her eating patterns that you always had to be careful not to fall into the trough when you poured in their food. My brother Peter had a pet pig at one point but it never made it to full size. It developed some sort of anal prolapse and was pronounced "dinner" early on. There is more to that story and I am sure my brother Peter can make up better lies than I in that regard.

Cows were relatively docile and rarely bit. Plus they were fun to ride because they just aren't designed for the sport. Horses, while well designed for riding and often gentle, still have nasty teeth and more than once decided to use me as a target.

The ultimate victory in all these things likes in the ultimate end of most of these creatures. We killed them and then we ate them. Life in Stave Falls taught me that the food we eat doesn't just come from Safeway. It also taught me that if you wanted something good, you generally had to dig through the shit to get to it.

Life can be like that sometimes. Not always, but often enough. I think that bad stuff is important. It makes the good all the sweeter. The sunrise looks all the more beautiful when you know there aren't that many left. Food tastes richer when you know that eating is something you have a limited time to enjoy. The warm breeze after a storm, a hot coffee on a cold day; it all works.

Life is good, even if bad things happen, except possibly for a chicken. But then again, how would I know? I'm not a chicken.


  1. I want to hear the story about Peter's pig! ~Kate

  2. Not a chicken, that's for sure.

  3. Kate, you will have to ask Uncle Peter. :)

  4. You definately are not a chicken. You are very brave soldier battling als

  5. Just wondering, what is your current als score?

  6. My current FRS (Functional Rating Score) is 34. When I was diagnosed in November my score was 38. I am right on track, losing about 1 point per month.