In the early spring Daddy would buy around 25 baby chicks and place them in a homemade brooder. The brooder was made in two parts. One part was a wire cage with a wire bottom where the chicks would stay during most of the daytime. This was where they were fed and could get fresh air. The other part was a box-like compartment built onto the cage with a light bulb inside to provide heat. This was where the chicks would go at night and during rain or cool weather.

As the chicks grew and started growing a few feathers they were taken from the brooder and placed in a fenced yard where they could run around with more freedom. When they got larger we called them “friers”. This meant that they were just right for cooking. So we had a lot of fried chicken.

One time a chick was born with a crooked bill. The top bill actually crossed over the bottom bill. We didn’t notice this until it was almost frying size. We named it “Crook Bill”. I became somewhat attached to it and would notice it each day. The other chickens were real mean to it, continually pecking it. I’ve noticed that humans sometimes mistreat others that have short comings in this same kind of mean way for no apparent reason. I guess this gives a special meaning to being chicken.

One day I noticed that Crook Bill was missing. I looked all over the yard thinking that maybe the mistreatment might have taken its toll but didn’t find him anywhere. I mentioned it to my parents but they had no comment.

Shortly after this my grandmother had a birthday dinner for my granddaddy and everyone brought a dish. As we sat down to eat I noticed that Mother had brought chicken salad. Things started falling into place. Crook Bill was missing and Mother brought chicken salad to the dinner. I caught Mother’s eye as I looked at the chicken salad. She just smiled at me but I knew what that meant.

There was no chicken salad for me!