The Backyard

The Backyard

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

My Dad and His Childhood Chicken Story

Somewhere around 1940, a little boy in the small town of Gratz, Pennsylvania, was sent to the backyard by his mom to "go get a chicken for supper."  Everyone in Gratz had backyards full of vegetables, chickens, and a pig to eventually slaughter as a neighborhood project.  This is how folks lived and thrived in smalltown USA before industrial agriculture.  They grew and raised all their food.  If the bill at the grocery store was more than $10 a week, Dad wasn't happy.  That bill was for a family of 8.  So little boy Donnie went to the chicken pen to catch a chicken for dinner.  They all gathered around him as though it was time for their feeding.  You see, little Donnie cared for the birds and they grew fond of his handsful of feed everyday.  Little Donnie caught one of his flock, and with ax in hand and mom's orders in his head, he hesitated.  He listened to his chicken cackle, hung his head, and let her go.  He couldn't do it.  He went back to the house and his mom said, "where's the chicken?" And little Donnie said, "I couldn't catch one."  His mother mumbled some Pennsylvania dutch, calling him dumb.  I'm glad little Donnie was dumb and never killed a chicken.  And I'm more glad his 81 year old brain remembered the story and told me about it last night, on my birthday.  I loved it.  Of course he mumbled the exact same words in Pennsylvania dutch that his mom mumbled, but I'm sorry to say I never learned the language and couldn't repeat.  Thanks for the story dad!  


Benjy said...

Mmm…nothing is as good as an old story told by close relative. Unbelievable it's not that far only on the 40's think about it.
מחשבון משכנתאות

Lille said...

My mom told me stories about growing up out in the country during the depression. Chicken every Sunday was the rule in their household. These stories are gems. Thanks for sharing.

Lille said...
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The Happy Hippy said...

Seems we have more in common that we first thought - my dear old Dad is 84 and I'm trying hard to get him to share his many stories from the 30s, 40s & 50s. Sadly, all their photos were lost in the 1948 fire here, so great that you have pictures. Time spend with our folks are ever more valuable as each day passes. Mine celebrated their 59th wedding anniversary last week - let's hope they make the 60th.