Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, May 22, 2000

Chicken soup is a such fowl idea


When my children were small, they had many pets. One year, my daughter received a baby chicken as an Easter gift.

The chick was white and very small. As it got older, it turned darker and darker in color, and when it was a big, it was a very shiny black rooster.

The rooster was very tame because my children played with it all the time. They named the rooster Blackie.

When Blackie was little, they carried him around in their pocket everywhere they went. Why, Blackie even went to church sometimes when I forgot to check my daughter's pockets before we left.

As Blackie got older, he could follow the children around all by himself. He loved to jump in the car and go for a ride with us. He would sit in the back window of the car and you could see that he really enjoyed the ride.

Everyone loved our chicken. We lived right across the street from the school, so all of the school children knew him by name. Many times, he would be sitting on the steps all afternoon waiting for the children to come home when their classes were done.

Sometimes, Blackie got tired of waiting and he would decide to set out for school or church all by himself. Daddy said someday, someone might hurt Blackie or take him home and make him into chicken soup, so we made a pen to put him in when we couldn't be with him.

When winter came, we decided that Blackie needed to be where it was warmer. We couldn't keep him in our house so we brought him to my uncle's farm. There, Blackie could stay warm in the barn which was full of nice soft hay and straw.

My uncle had three daughters and they liked to play with our rooster, too, so we knew he would feel right at home there.

One Sunday, our family went over to my uncle's house to visit. My girls couldn't wait to get out to the barn to see their Blackie. As soon as we parked the car, they asked to go out to the barn to see him.

"Don't be gone too long," I told my daughter. "It's almost time for dinner."

Well, the girls ran to the barn. The grownups went into the house and got the dinner on the table.

"Children," I called from the house, "Come in for dinner now."

When the children came in, they seemed quite upset. "Whatever is wrong?"I asked them.

"We can't find Blackie anywhere," they said.

"Well, I'm sure he must be in the barn somewhere," my uncle told them. "We will go look for him after we eat."

We all sat down at the table and my aunt started to pass the food around. All of a sudden, the children started to cry. It seemed that the menu for our Sunday dinner included . . . you guessed it . . . fried chicken.

There was nothing we could say to console the children. My uncle tried to convince them that nothing had happened to Blackie, but the girls were sure that the reason they couldn't find him in the barn was because he was the main course for our Sunday dinner.

No one ate much at that meal. The children were quite upset, and there seemed to be nothing we could to do cheer them up. Finally, we decided we might as well go home and come again to visit another day.

As we got our car loaded up and ready to go, we had a nice surprise. Fast asleep in the back window of the car we found our Blackie.

Well, you have never seen such happy children.

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