New Castle News

November 5, 2013

Gary Church: Why did the chicken cross our back yard? I don’t want to hear a peep!

Gary Church
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — When I lived on the West Side, we had chickens.

We didn't live on a farm. Our yard was only the size of a city lot.

Someone asked me the other day, "Why did you raise chickens?"

For those of you like me, who came over on the Mayflower, you may remember Murphy's 5&10 downtown.

Each Easter, at the bottom of the steps, they sold colored peeps.

Having the nice Mother like I did, and perhaps being a little spoiled, Mom would always buy me a couple of peeps for Easter.

A weird thing happens to those little peeps. They grow up to be chickens.

That’s why we had chickens.

Dad built them a chicken coop, which later became headquarters for my childhood playmates.

I can't say that the chickens we raised were friendly. Some of them were down right mean.

How I dreaded the day when it was their time to be our dinner.

Dad had a system all figured out on how they were going to pass away.

He cut their heads off.

My job was to chase the headless chicken, which was running wildly around the yard, and throw a box over it.

And you wonder why I'm like I am today.

I don't care how good Mom cooked that chicken, I would never eat it.

There was a time when some of our chickens started disappearing.

We looked everywhere, but never found a trace of a chicken.

Late one night, a friend who lived next door heard some rustling in the chicken coop.

She looked outside, and spotted one of the ladies in the neighborhood stealing a chicken.

We never called the police on her. I think my parents were happy to get rid of the things.

The closest thing my daughter had to chickens were a couple of ducks I brought home from work.

No, we never had roast duck.

Number one: I could never chop off a duck’s head.

Number two: If I would have asked my daughter to chase the headless duck around with a box, she would still be screaming her head off.

We sent them back to the farm where they came from, and they lived happily ever after.

This was good, because I think my old neighbor Mike had an eye on one of them for dinner.