Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Chicken Drop Sunday

A whole lot of people have already left on vacations or mission trips.  I’m on a sort of staycation myself.  Our oldest daughter took her nieces on a Disney cruise to Alaska so our youngest, Emily, came out here to help with some projects.

We’re fencing in a chicken yard.  If you have followed my adventures with chickens over the last year you will remember that at first, I was ecstatic to get them.  Then I discovered what a pain in the butt they are in spite of all those tasty fresh eggs.  Being free-range meant they made a mess all over both the front and back porch, dug great gaping holes all over the yard for their dust baths and eventually fell victim to predators one by one until my favorite, Juliette, met a tragic end and, disheartened, I gave the last three away. 

This spring, Emily decided she wanted chickens at her house.  She bought some chicks of undetermined sex--what they call a "straight run."  Odds will tell you half of them ended up as roosters. First, Bella ended up as Bill.  Then Clementine turned into Clem.  And now Primrose is Pete. I wanted to name him Liberace because he has the most awesome array of wild, feathery feet.  You just have to see him to appreciate how over the top this chicken is.  But my granddaughters have no cultural joi de vivre and insist on calling him Pete.  

Bill, the rooster formerly known as Bella
Pete was unavailable for a photo

The problem is that the city of Garland prohibits keeping roosters.  So now we’re running a haven for banished roosters out here at our house-- a fraternity of fowl, if you will.  We won’t even get any eggs out of the deal.  But we are going to keep them penned up this time. 

Anyway, I was saying that I really don’t have time for the blog this week and I’m not even sure anyone else does.  So I thought I’d post one of my favorite stories from my book.  Some stories I tell just because I like to relive the moment once again.  This is one of them:

In January of 2008 I was working as a Village Manager at the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance camp in Pearlington, Mississippi.  Basically I was a den mother for teams of people coming from all over the US to help rebuild the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina.  I didn’t do much of the rebuilding myself.  I mostly made sure the camp food pantry was well-stocked with everything to keep the volunteers happy.   It’s just a lot more fun rebuilding a house if there is a freezer full of ice cream bars waiting for you at the end of the day. 

I invariably fell in love with the people I met coming through the camp because they were good-hearted people who could roll with the punches.  I still stay in touch with a few of them. The team from Pittsford, New York was one of my favorites.

It was early January and they had gone for the evening to a local bar called Turtle Landing to watch the New York Giants play in the SuperBowl.  Aside from the unlimited ice cream we did have a ban on alcoholic beverages in the camp.  This never was a problem since teams usually scheduled a night out to explore New Orleans where they could, and usually did, consume alcohol to their heart’s desire.  It was also “Chicken Drop Sunday” at the Pearlington watering hole that night so they elected to stay in the neighborhood.  I often passed the sign advertising “Chicken Drop Sunday.” I thought it probably meant some special chicken dish they served only once a week.  I was wrong.

When the gang from New York stumbled back into camp after the game I sat down with them in the camp kitchen to hear their stories.  They were relaxed by a few brews and by ending a week’s worth of work on Miss Kitty’s house where they had installed her floors.  I knew Miss Kitty would be dancing in my office the next morning asking when she could move into her new house.  So the evening was special on many different levels.  I can’t tell you if New York won the game that night but I do remember how much fun the church team had at dinner. They were extremely mellow when they got back to camp.

It turned out that Chicken Drop is not a food. Nosiree.  It is a game.  The bar brought in an enclosed chicken pen with a grid marked on the floor.  Each square of the grid had a number.  Then they brought in a chicken.  People bet which numbered square the chicken would “do” what chickens do. If they chicken pooped in the square you bet on you won the pot.  I’m not sure if the bar got some of the money or if the winner got it all. I’m not even sure that part mattered.  I think the real purpose of the game was to drink a lot of beer while you watched the chicken walk around. 

But it started the group from Pittsford to thinking what a dandy fund-raiser it would make back home to finance their mission trips. One of the things I loved about the PDA camps was that it was a great opportunity for churches to swap ideas with each other.  So it was only natural for the Pittsford group to think of a Chicken Drop fundraiser.

Through the haze of their relaxed condition I had a little trouble telling if they were serious or not. They were convinced the Chicken Drop game would be a fabulous money-maker.

First, they had to discuss if owning chickens was legal in Pittsford and how they could find chickens and did this constitute cruelty to chickens?  This took some time.  The general consensus was that pooping was a perfectly healthy and normal thing for a chicken to do.

So they moved on to the question of whether they could hold the contest inside the church or outside.  If outside, they would have to make sure it was a warm month.  Pittsford can get really cold in the winter and nobody wanted the poor pooping chickens to have to walk around in freezing weather.  Especially if it meant they had to hang around outside themselves waiting for the chicken.  Everyone was interested in how fast the chicken would produce a winner but nobody knew much about the bowel habits of chickens. 

Then, where else could the conversation go but to form a committee?  This was a church, after all, and no church can function in even the most limited way without a committee.  And no name would do but the obvious:  The Chicken Shit Committee. Every person at the table, including myself, declared we had served on that committee many times and could probably even chair it through our vast experience.

That was the end of that and we all went to bed.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Loved it the first time - REALLY loved it this time around. Trying to decide if there is some group at church that would appreciate the whole story - have to think about it, but there just may be!

Love that you have a home now for unappreciated roosters - maybe PETA will give you an award (unless you should get a longing for chicken pot pie......). Nah, not at your house.