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Old Spurs the Rooster

September 27, 2009 Story Time No Comments

RoosterWhen I was 5 years old my dad opted to leave the Air Force and pursue a career in the paper industry.

My dad and mom bought a cute little wood-frame house in Camden, Arkansas in a nice neighborhood within walking distance of the school…the area had tons of kids to play with…David (my brother) and I loved it there….there was a chicken coop in the back yard so, of course dad bought some hens and a rooster…soon we had chicks running around in the coop…David and I had great fun playing with the baby chicks…dad had to make us leave them alone…we were “loving” them to death.

It was not long before we had an addition to the family….our baby brother Paul was born….David and I tried to “love” him to death too.

Soon there were other additions to our animal kingdom as well….dad bought us four little ducks that soon grew into four BIG ducks….our next door neighbors were elderly and retired…..the Hearns….Mr. Hearn grew the most beautiful garden….tomatoes, corn, okra, peas and beans….well, my dad had a little garden too, but for some reason our ducks preferred Mr. Hearns garden to ours…we found out later it was because we did NOT have corn…anyway, when the ducks were big enough to fly, they flew over the fence into Mr. Hearn`s garden…David and I climbed over the fence and it became a “free-for-all”….we chased the ducks…the ducks were squawking loudly and poor Mr. Hearn (being “at his wit`s end”) chased all of us through the garden…in the end we caught the ducks….Mr. Hearn was furious and brought out some of the largest shears David and I had ever seen…we began to cry and beg for the duck`s lives as we thought he was going to cut their heads off…much to our relief he clipped their wings and threw them back over the fence….after that my dad grew the ducks “their own” row of corn in the back yard…that solved solved the problem.

For Easter one year David and I received two female bunny rabbits…we were ecstatic…dad built them a cage,but it was our responsibility to take care of them…one day David and I had the bunnies out on the lawn and David told me his bunny was getting fat….I looked at her and saw that her belly was huge…. later on that night when we were eating supper David proudly exclaimed that his bunny was was lots bigger than mine…dad asked him what he was talking about and I told him the bunny had a huge stomach….dad`s eyes grew large and he rushed out of the house to check on the rabbits…when he came back he told us there was a reason the rabbit`s stomach was large…we did not know what he meant…then he said, “Remember when mom`s stomach grew large?”….WE GOT IT!!!….we were thrilled to think we were going to have a cute new baby bunny…we were shocked to learn when the birthing happened that David and I were the proud owners of 9 rabbits….and nine turned into 22 in a hurry…we could not get rid of them fast enough…..one Saturday morning mom took all us kids to visit our cousins and we were gone all day…when we returned, dad had cooked supper for us…my dad was a great cook…he had made fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy and fried okra….all our favorites….the food was delicious…the chicken was the juiciest we had ever eaten….then our mom commented that she did not recognize the piece she was eating ….she held it up to show it to my dad….it looked like a leg, but it was a skinny leg and it was WHITE meat….we knew immediately what is was…we were eating some our bunnies….all of us began to scream and cry including mom….dad had to take us to the Cow Bell for ice cream to calm us down.

We had the most wonderful, very old apple tree in our back yard…David and I climbed the tree and sat on its branches almost everyday…sometimes we would eat the apples “behind our mother`s back”….she thought we would get a stomach ache or break our teeth if we ate them…they were “cooking apples”….small, green and hard as a brick bat….one day David and I were in the chicken coop looking for eggs and playing with the chicks….the rooster by this time had grown from a sweet young bird into a huge mean bird with SHARP UGLY claws on his feet….we called him “Old Spurs”….if he caught us in the coop, he would chase us around in the yard…David and I could always outrun him…..we would climb the apple tree and “pelt” him with the smallest, hardest apples we could pick…that always worked for us, but probably (in retrospect) made him meaner…Paul was a toddler with really SHORT legs and Old Spurs absolutely HATED him….I guess since the rooster could not catch us so he took it out on poor Paul…it got so bad that Paul could barely leave the back door without Old Spurs getting after him…one afternoon our dad came home just in time to see the rooster chasing Paul in the backyard…mom and David and I were chasing after them….Paul was crying and trying to run on his tiny short legs…he tripped and fell down and the rooster jumped on top of him and spurred him in the back before we could get to him….my dad was SO mad that the vein in his right temple stuck out…that was a sure sign he was about to EXPLODE…when we were young, if our dad`s vein stuck out we SCATTERED…we knew we were in BIG trouble….we were glad to know this time rooster was in BIG trouble, not us.

Dad chased Old Spurs down and put a rope around his neck…he tied the rope to a large tree near the coop and got his axe…we knew Old Spurs was “done for” and we wanted to watch the glorious and bloody event…(after all we did not have a great “love in our hearts” for Old Spurs”)…my dad thought otherwise… a very inappropriate event for young children…so he made David and me go around the side of the coop so we could not see him chop his head off….David and I had “OTHER” ideas….we sneaked all the way around the coop to dad`s backside so he could not see us….well, the GREAT CHOP happened…it was bloody all right….a spurt of blood spewed out all over David and me…we screamed and dad looked at us…the vein was not sticking out (we were glad to see)…he mostly looked HORRIFIED…so were we….we gave Old Spurs a decent burial (too old and too tough to eat)….said a prayer for him and told him we would visit him in “Chicken heaven” if we ever got there….we even put “four o`clocks” on his grave from time to time…poor Old Spurs.

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