Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Sunday, June 3, 2018

The Neighbour's Chickens

It's Ancestor Sunday!
Time for another little step backward into the past.
This week, we're not going quite as far. Just eighty years or so . . .

Call it tomfooleries.
Maybe shenanigans.
Mischiefs. Trickeries. Pranks?
I’m trying to find words other than the obvious—creative borrowing.
Would it help if I told you that many of the participants survived?
You’re right. I should probably explain . . .
Husby’s father was out with his friends enjoying an unusual and far-too-infrequent few hours with nothing to do.
All of them were sons of the country—raised by farming parents in a rural community.
Each fairly familiar with the nearby farms. And farm families.
Who was likely to be home.
Who probably . . . . was not.
A nearby neighbor was one of the ‘was nots’.
Does that make sense?
Moving on . . .
The boys were hungry.
And said neighbour’s chicken yard was full of fat, relatively dim-witted, probably tasty chickens.
Hmmm. What could possibly be done?
Do I need to tell you?
Fine. Remember when I said they were all sons of the country? Well, that becomes pretty obvious here.
They snagged a couple of plump chickens, quickly dispatched them.
Plucked, gutted and sectioned them.
Then cast about to find the best way to cook them.
Wait. The nearby home was empty. The owners gone for a while if not for the whole day.
The neighbour's chickens. The neighbour's kitchen.
It just made sense. Well . . . to them.
They would simply step inside and use the kitchen and supplies.
Clean up.
And be gone.
With no one any the wiser.
You have to know that no one ever locked their doors. That has a lot to do with the success of this caper.
Heading into the kitchen, they hunted out a pan and began to fry up their ill-gotten gains.
Just as things were sizzling nicely, sending the marvelous aroma of frying and deliciousness into the air, they heard the unmistakable sound of the side door.
Opening and closing.
All of them looked up from their preparing/place-setting duties to see the farm’s owner standing there. Looking, quite justifiably, a little surprised.
The quickest thinker moved toward him. “We had these chickens and decided we needed to prepare them. And your house was right here. And your kitchen was handy and . . .”
The young man left it there.
The farmer said nothing.
Another of the chicken-pilferers spoke up. “Would you like to join us? They’re nearly ready.”
“Sure.” The farmer sat down with the young men and, when the golden-browned chicken was served, he ate his fill with the rest of them.
Then, feast finished, they all got up and began to tidy the kitchen.
Finally, when everything was gleaming clean once more, the ring-leader turned to the farmer. “They weren’t really our chickens,” he said, in a low voice. “They were yours.”
“I knew that,” the farmer said cheerfully. “But I thought I might as well get something out of it.”
Huh.
Sometimes it’s not just the mischief-makers who are looking for a free lunch.

4 comments:

  1. That neighbour was definitely more accepting of that behavior than anyone I know . . .

    ReplyDelete
  2. I remember when no-one locked their doors. And loved this tale.

    ReplyDelete
  3. That never would have happened where I grew up in New York City. But, believe it or not, when I was growing up in the 50's, we didn't lock our doors during the day, either.

    ReplyDelete

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