Friday, July 18, 2008

Can you lasso a chicken? I can.

Another summertime memory is the excitement we experienced when the first settin’ hen came him with her brood of chicks. We called them “biddies”, and of course, the hen was a “biddie hen”. Seeing the little puffs of feathers cheeping around and picking at the ground was a thing of wonderment for us. Us kids knew not to get too close because the biddie hen was very protective and would “flop the shit out of you” as we’d been told by those who had experienced that in the past.

Below is a photo of Granny Sue's chicken coop. The one we had was much like this. We let our chickens out of a day to free-range. If you haven't checked out Granny Sue's blog, you need to.

I always loved the way the chickens would give themselves dust baths, they’d kick up dirt all around until all you could see was a veritable dust cloud. We had lots of fun with the chickens and that reminds me of an incident where I tried to lasso a chicken.

As I remember it, when I was about 7 years old, my granddad had made me a lasso out of a piece of clothesline. Of course, it was much to flimsy to actually lasso something and when you threw it, it kinda just wadded up into a huge mound a couple of feet from where you stood. Being the precocious child that I was, I had come up with a brilliant idea and thought to myself, "why not make some money off of this idea". I said to my granddad, “I bet I can lasso a chicken”, he replied “Naw, you caint neither, not with that lasso you caint.” I then retorted, “I’ll bet you two dollar that I can”. I’m sure he just wanted to see me being mischievous so he said, “Okay then, but you better not hurt my hens”.

Well, with my dreams of the hot sausages I was sure to buy with my soon to be acquired fortune, I set my plan into action. I wasn’t going to try to throw the lasso over the chicken, I planned on spreading the lasso out on the ground. I made a loop about 2 feet around, and spread a handful of dried corn in it and hollered “Here chick-chick-chick…here chick-chick-chick” just as we always done when we were calling the chicken to come and eat. However, this time none of the chickens came runnin’…so I just decided to bide my time and wait it out, there was no way I was gonna give up on my two dollars, so I waited and waited and waited some more. After what seemed to me like an eternity, a lone old hen came pecking around, and eventually worked her way ever closer to my lasso loop. I don’t know how I managed to keep my excitement under control, but somehow I did. Finally, she stepped in my trap, I waited just a while longer to let her get both legs into the loop and then I gave a strong tug on my end of the lasso. The hen jumped but by then it was too late, I had her lassoed by one foot.

I started hollering for everyone to come look what I had caught, and I was jumping in the air in jubilation. My mom came out first, undoubtedly wondering what I had got myself into this time, and saw that I had caught a chicken. I said to her “See, I lassoed her, see? See?” When my granddad came to look I told him. “I told you I could lasso a chicken, now where’s my two dollars?” He then tried to get out of the bet by saying, “You didn’t lasso that chicken, you baited her into a trap”. My mom told him, “Now, you give the boy his two dollars, he spent all day doing this”.

As soon as I got my two dollars, I looked at granddad and said, “Now take me to the store”, which he did. Looking back on it, he probably had in mind to go to the store anyway and knew I wouldn’t give up until I had caught something and called it a chicken. I recall that I got a whole lot more than two dollars worth of stuff, I got a jar of hot sausages, a pack of crackers, a bag of potato chips and a pop. I handed my two dollars to granddad and told him to pay for the rest. He did, and I gathered up my bounty and headed for the truck. My granddad laughing at me the whole time, saying to the folks who sat in the store, “That boy is gonna break me up”.
Below is a photo of me when I was about the age of the great chicken lassoing.

Now you can see why everyone always did call me the “pet pig” because I was the baby of the bunch and got pretty much what I wanted from everyone.


Tipper said...

I really enjoyed this post! I found your blog on Granny Sue's site. I have read all your posts and enjoyed each one. I really like what you are doing. Although I'm from Southern Appalachia-I think we have much in common.

Matthew Burns said...

I'm glad to enjoy my blog. I didn't know anyone was reading it so I'm really happy to see they are. I have a whole sack full of stories to share in coming posts, so stay tuned.