Monday, August 10

Well, Mom got us youngans ready to go to Maces Creek for a weekend visit with my Aunt Emmer. Her real name is Emmaline but Emmer sounds best. She lived on a farm and that was an experience for us “city” kids. I loved Aunt Emmer’s for she had a big water well in her front yard and all we had to do to get a good drink was lower the bucket into the well, bring it back up, and pour a glass full of pure, cold, water. “Be careful, Idy, land sakes, you are going to topple over into the well, and you’d be gone forever…” To say the least I was careful.

Now, here is where my story gets graphic a little for I was about to go to the potty and I knew when coming here I would have to go to the “little house outback”. I wasn’t afraid of the well, but I had unleased fear of the outhouse. Mom would not go with me and I had to set out down the yard all by myself. I thought, “She’s going to let me surely be gone forever…” To get to the outhouse I had to pass an old mother hen and her diddles and I had learned earlier on a visit you don’t rile up a mother hen. I crossed my legs and did a little dance while waiting for the mother hen to take her brood on down in the lower yard. Well, I was lucky for she saw better pickings on down in the yard and shooed her little brood that way.

I opened the door to the outhouse and Aunt Emmer and Uncle Ray kept it nice and clean but no matter how much they worked you could not keep that smell away. So, I proceeded to climb up on the “hole” and got my footing about where it needed to be and I slipped. God was in there I know for I didn’t slide into the muck at the bottom but caught myself on the big iron nail-like thing that held the catalog. WHEW, I was saved by Sears and Roebuck. I hurriedly got my business done and was ready to make my departure. All of a sudden my heart leaped when I heard the “cluck, cluck, cluck” of the mother hen and right away without looking outside I knew she was guarding the outhouse door and was not going to let me out. “I knew it, I knew it, I ain’t never going to get out”. I was not going to fight the mother hen, no sirree bill!!!!

I grabbed hold of one of the catalogs and started thumbing through it in hopes the hen would get tired of guarding the door and let me out. To this day I do not know why they kept catalogs in there cause us little ones could not read, but I looked at the pictures. I could tell by the cracks in the old outhouse that it was getting dusky dark, and my fear was monumental by this time. In the distance I heard Mom holler “Idy, Idy, where in blue blazes are you?” “Idy, we’re going to leave without you and if you are playing in the creek, you had better run here right now.” Oh, what was I to do, I hollered with all my might, “come and get me, come and get me, the old hen has got me holed up in the outhouse…” Well, I started to cry for I knew that I would sleep on this one-holer for the night. I let out with a scream and a holler that would run a saint out of a thicket, and Mom heard me. When she got the door open, and reached for me, I fell into her arms, and she was trying to soothe me the best she could, and she did because that is what mothers do, they soothe the brow of a child in pain, and I was in pain, scared pain from the fear of that old hen, and as Mom carried me up the little path back to the house, I heard that old hen clucking louder than ever, and I always will say she was laughing at me.

To this day I have never eaten a piece of chicken, a piece of turkey or anything that flies or plays around in a farm yard.


  1. We have had many similar experiences. I was flogged by roosters and mother hens many times as we all played or worked in their case in the same back yard in Western Kentucky where I lived full time for awhile and part time for longer. I fought back to the point where most of them learned to leave me alone. Anyway, I ate so many chickens (from the age of about 10, a fried chicken for me and a chicken for the rest of the family was the norm; of course, they were generally `pullets' not full size chickens) that I felt like the winner! Mostly we drank cistern water but I agree with you, well water was colder and sweeter. As far as the outhouse goes, we were pretty sophisticated in Marion, KY. There was a very small `hole' for me so I didn't have to worry about falling through. In those days I could still smell and the odor I remember to this day. The catalogs(Sears & Roebuck and Montgomery Ward) were for toilet paper. Surely Aunt Emmer didn't have regular toilet paper in her outhouse. Of course, the paper was firm and slick and not really `good for the task' but in those days, nothing was wasted. The catalogues also serve for reading entertainment, if you were there for an extended period. And finally, they were weapons. All you would had to do was to open the door and chuck a catalog at that bossy hen; she would have found something to do elsewhere in a hurry. I'm sure you must have shared my memories of the preparation for a chicken dinner. My aunt would grasp a pullet by the head in each of her hands and start walking and whirling the birds. Soon the bodies would fly off, spurt blood everywhere and jump around a bit before they gave up and lay quietly. Then came the feather plucking, then the water bath, then the `dicing' into parts and then the `frying'! My playmates and I would always try to be present for the `beheading' as that was really dramatic!

  2. Growing up in Hazard in the thirties and forties, I witnessed many neck-wringing, head-chopping (my Mom used a meat cleaver), throwing in a tub of scalding water, feather-plucking, cutting up the body in sections, and frying on a wood-burning, coal-burning stove in a cast-iron skillet. It tasted soooooooo goooood!!
    My older brother claimed to have had a fight with a rooster one time, but he lost the fight and claimed that was why the eyesight in his right eye was so weak!!