Friday, August 19, 2011

Me and The Rooster



I don't know why I remember but whenever I hear or see a rooster, I always think of the one from my childhood way back in the 1950's. I was not old enough for school and spent many days with my grandmom and pop-pop on their farm. They lived in an old white two-story farmhouse with a wood burning cookstove in the huge kitchen. The stove sat on an outside wall between two windows. I had my special spot at one of the windows where I could watch everything going on, inside and out. I was an only child so I had to devise my own amusements. Since I was shy and quiet, they consisted of looking at books or something low key that did not get me into any trouble.

One day, sitting in my favorite spot, I saw Pop-pop's rooster below the window scratching around in the dirt. Suddenly he reared back and let out a blood-curdling cock-a-doodle-doo. It was unexpected and made me jump. I don't know why I did it, but I cock-a-doodle-dooed right back at him. He jumped straight up about two inches, twisted his head around, saw me in the window and puffed out his feathers in attack mode. The window screen gave me confidence. He was so funny looking, I did it again...and again. Everytime I saw that old rooster, I mimicked him. Finally, Pop-pop caught me at it and told me I'd better stop or I'd be sorry. He said that rooster was a Rhode Island Red, and the breed did not take kindly to being mocked. Of course, I did not heed his advice. I just made sure no one was around to observe my shenanigans. The more I made fun of that rooster, the more he wanted to keep me company below that window. It was like he was a glutton for punishment. I was the yin to his yang. I had him so riled up, a chicken psychiatrist couldn't have straightened him out.

I finally found out that old rooster was smarter than I was. He was just biding his time. He knew I would be coming outside sooner or later. I was not conniving enough to think that far along. I did begin to notice whenever someone went outside and the door hinges squeaked, old Mr. Rooster took off around the side of the house, but soon he'd be back looking up at me anticipating more punishment. He never seemed to tire of staking me out, and I never tired of making fun of his croaking wake up call.

When Mom dropped me off and picked me up, I always came and went from the front door where I knew I was safe from the old fowl, but a little kid can't be on her guard all the time. This particular day Aunt Frances brought my cousins for the afternoon and in my haste for real playmates, I ran out the side door when I heard the car coming. That dumb chicken attacked me like a voodoo witch doctor. He came hopping at me sideways, flashing spurs sharp as razors, and jumped on me like a thrashing machine. I fell down and rolled up into a ball to try to protect myself. I'm afraid I may have mooned my cousins who were watching as though in a trance. I whacked at that chicken but he dug his claws into a part of my body too private to mention in mixed company. My pop-pop heard me screaming at the top of my lungs. He came running with a burlap sack and somehow managed to throw it over the frenzied fowl. Mr. Rooster had only the enemy in his sights, me, and didn't know what hit him. It knocked the wind out of him and he just lay limp in the sack. I didn't feel a bit sorry for him.

After I got cleaned up and bandaged, my pop-pop gave me a tongue lashing that hurt almost as bad as the rooster's spurs. I didn't make fun of the old fowl anymore but nobody could make me like that chicken. He had the same opinion of me. We steered clear of each other after that. My only satisfaction was that I would outlive him and nobody would be having me for dinner.

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