In honor of the impending approach of dead bird week — aka Thanksgiving — I thought I’d share some stories I heard at a dinner party the other night. We’re not quite there yet, but we can start getting in a festive mood for Thanksgiving with a few poultry stories, all of which took place many years ago, but which — for reasons you’ll soon understand — remain seared into the memories of those who witnessed them.
Julie Tate-Libby had only the best intentions when she put a flock of newly hatched ducks in a kiddie pond, thinking about her young children and the cuteness overload of a bunch of fluffy little duckies paddling happily around. When she brought her kids back to see the ducks, however, the poor critters were all floating face-up, either hypothermic or drowned. After wringing her hands for a moment, Julie took the only course of action she could see in front of her; she loaded up her oven with those lifeless baby ducks and turned it on. A few minutes later, some peeping from within revealed that this unconventional strategy was actually quite effective; no roast duck — just toasted enough to be revived.
Susan Prichard discovered her young kids trying to teach their baby chicks to drink. They had succeeded in pouring water not only down the beaks of the chicks, but also all over their bodies, and the poor chicks were soaked and shivering. Afraid that death was imminent and time was short, as she was just minutes away from needing to depart to run the Sunflower Marathon, Susan had to think quickly; time was of the essence. Unaware of the success of the Tate-Libby approach but in possession of a great deal of faith in the efficacy of a heat gun, Susan turned the fiery blast onto the chicks and warmed them up — a little too vigorously, unfortunately.
Steve Bondi had another tale of woe regarding baby chickens. The Bondis’ hen had sat patiently on a clutch of eggs for three weeks, but only one hatched. The hen tended to the lone chick lovingly, and at some point decided to shepherd the little fuzzball outside for its first look at the great outdoors. The outdoors were indeed great, with clear skies above, a light breeze stirring the pines, and a raven circling lazily overhead. Suddenly lazy circles shifted to a decidedly focused approach, and before the hen could even let out a startled cluck, the raven swooped down and plucked the chick from the ground, never to be seen again.
If these poultry stories don’t quack you up, you may think me callous for recounting them. But remember — in less than a month most of us are going to be tucking in happily to a giant roasted bird with no qualms, so let’s try not to let the concept of fowl play ruffle our feathers.