My chicken dinner walked around only about an hour or so ago. Crowing like there was no tomorrow.
I suppose that converting a chicken into dinner isn’t a big thing for many in the US. But I’ve never participated in the ending of one life immediately prior to the beginning of a soup supper. Tonight introduced me to the culturally significant activity of converting cock-a-doodle-doo into a soup and super, too.
Lota brought home tonight’s dinner two nights ago. Put it in the storage room to keep him fresh. Poor thing! Lota left the screen window open, so he could hear his peers making all sorts of noise walking around their playground. Sort of like a prison cell, I’m sure. I peered through the screen from the outside, only to stimulate his jump to the window sill and participation in a chorus of cackling. Amazing how much noise a bird can make!
Lota asked Mary to prepare dinner tonight. She allowed me to watch, and I gave a helping hand every now and then. I’m glad nobody gave him a name. Just business, you see.
She entered the room where Mr. Doodle-doo stewed. Grabbed him by the wings or shoulders, pretty much immobilized him (except for his voice), and walked him into and among the banana trees. Slashed a big banana tree leaf and laid it on the ground. Calmly took the knife that she only moments ago sharpened, and sliced off his head. Dropped it on the ground while continuing to hold the still animated remainder still. Heard one last cackle from the unsevered part of the neck, and watched 30 seconds of diminishing struggle. A rather cold-blooded procedure.
Doused the plumed body into hot water. Then began plucking the feathers. The native chickens seemed as nonchalant as Mary. Pecked at the feathers as they flew off the body. They generally pretty much eat anything. Tonight saw no exception. Seemed like a scrawny body to me. Lots of feather, skinny frame. Much like a TZ politician, I suppose.
Cut and processed the whole thing. Dismembered the limbs and removed the internals. Cut the whole thing up and tossed it into a pot that welcomed a flame.
Finished supper a few minutes ago. Chicken soup first. Two of Lota’s brothers and I emptied our waiting soup bowls. Chicken parts and some cut-up green pepper over rice and noodles, a bit later. Tasted fresh! (Yes, a rather biased taste test.)
I interpret it all as culturally significant. A new experience. A day for which I should give thanks.
Monday morning just arrived. I’ve tried to stretch my neck and every other part of my body. My daily routine. Our water ran out yesterday, so my bleary eyes may stay that way for a bit, until the water guy fills up our big bucket again.
I walked out the back door to listen to the chickens hollering. They pressed against their screen door, expecting their master’s kindness to again allow them to roam free, to cackle their heads off, and to scratch dust. “Let me out! Let me out!”
They quieted down last night, before their darkened nap. Overnight, they refreshed their arrogance. This morning, they’ve restarted their self-confident engines. They expect their master’s grace to renew itself. Automatically. Their inalienable right, they figure. Night time erases all yesterday’s sin.
She smiled at me with my bleary eyes. Or, perhaps she simply smiled at my bleary eyes, not me. No matter. She walked over to the chicken cage and opened their screen doors. They flew out of their coops in a feathered flurry. Much like the jubilant fans after a Bronco’s game. Or, the TZ fans after their team just played the latest soccer match. Feathers flew. Wings flapped. They tripped over each other like there would be no tomorrow.
I’m sure they were thankful! Maybe. Or, just routinely arrogant. Expecting their master’s graciousness, as they’ve gotten use to its deliverance every day.
I rather expect my freedom, too. The routines. I really do just expect the water to run automatically. It should never run out! Can’t wait for the guy to refill my shower supply. I need a shave. It’s expected.
Like a new day. And even tomorrow.
Like my chicken soup.