Let Poopsie Entertain You

I am seriously considering trying my hand at frying chicken tonight.  Lots of people go to church on Wednesday nights, so I’m guessing the odds are high that my neighborhood fire department will be able to dispatch a truck or two…just in case.

I’m also guessing that this could be a long night, so I might not get back to the old laptop for a while.  What IS a girl to do? Well, THIS girl did what she always does.  You’re darn straight, I did.  I called my Mama.

Mama, known to Tater Tot as Poopsie and to the rest of the world as Mary Ann Somethingorother, had a weekly column in our town’s newspaper called “View From the Corner,” and it was usually pretty dad-gum funny.  Sometimes she got kind of serious or sentimental, but most of the time she was just a hoot.

My mother is a born storyteller and the most gifted writer I know.  She’s also one of the most well-read people you’ll ever find, and I’m pretty sure she can quote most any poem by Emily Dickinson.  

But the best thing about my mother?  She’s fun in every sense of the word.  She adores a good laugh.  She can take a joke and poke fun at herself.  She sees humor where humor exists.  Pure and simple.  She knows the difference between humor and hurt, and she never crosses the line.  Ever

So any-ol-hoo.  While I try to figure out how to fry this here bird, y’all get to have a heaping helping of Poopsie’s talent.  I feel sure that you’ll be asking for her to take over the blog.  But she doesn’t even read it, so don’t get your hopes up.  Yet.  Have no fears, though.  I have stacks of her articles at the ready.

(Oh, by the way, I am never worried that someone might lift, borrow, or outright STEAL anything that I write on my blog, because I am, after all, just me.  However, what I am about to post below was written by someone else.  And she does own the copyrights.  I do have permission to reprint the story — written, verbal, and a kiss on the cheek permission. Thank you, Mama.  However, since I don’t believe she’s been passing out the permission smooches to anyone but her favorite daughter, please respect the sweet little copyright. Otherwise, Bubba Mack and Jimmy Clyde will have to hunt you down and give you a crash course in “respecting the sweet little copyright.”  I’m just sayin’.)  


View From the Corner –November 7, 1985

Julia Child was on a television talk show recently.  What I like about Chef Julia, other than her being a pretty good cook, is that she is known for dropping a chicken and losing it under the stove while she was giving a live TV cooking lesson.  (She says that it was a potato pancake she dropped, but she admits that, for some reason, people remember it as being a chicken.)


I have never had a good experience with a chicken.  When they’re alive, they’re weird.  When they’re dead, they’re worse.  I’ve learned a lot of lessons from chickens, and they’ve always left me a sadder but wiser person.


After Darrell and I married, we lived in Starkville, Mississippi.  He attended Mississippi State and I ran germination tests on rotting cotton seed, but that’s another strange story.


Anyway, one afternoon after work, I decided that fried chicken would be delicious for supper, so I stopped by the grocery store and bought one chicken of the frying variety.


Returning to our apartment, I put on my wedding present apron, got out the wedding present electric skillet and went to work.


The first surprise came when I took the cellophane off the package.  I thought the chicken would be in several neatly cut pieces, but it wasn’t.  It was a whole body.  It was hollow, but it was one single thing.  I didn’t want one single thing.


Vaguely, I remembered Mama’s showing me how to cut one of these carcasses up.  You just went whack, whack, whack, and you had all the recognizable pieces of a chicken.  If you cut it one way, you got the pulley bone.  If you cut it another way, you didn’t get the pulley bone.  I wanted the pulley bone.  Dreamer.


Fumbling around, I found the wedding present knives, sharp and gleaming.  I chose the largest weapon and went to work on the supper’s left thigh.


Thinking I had found the leg joint, I sliced in and waited for the blade to sever the desired piece from the whole.  It did no such thing.  It hit bedrock.  There was no joint.  There was NO JOINT in that chicken’s left leg.


Methodically I moved, knife flashing, from one supposed dissecting place to another.  Rather than having several pieces of bird, all I got was a larger and flatter pound of flesh. Instead of being shaped like a football with legs, the thing was becoming a bony rug.


Finally, in desperation, I grabbed ole chicky by the arm and whacked the whole thing against the counter. Did I break a joint?  No.  I flung it against the wall.  Did any pieces come loose?  No, it most certainly did not.  It just spread out more and more with every attack.  I was furious.


Darrell appeared about this time and there was his new wife wrestling with a humongous chicken – and losing.  I thought of frying the whole blasted thing just as it was, but it has spread out so much it wouldn’t fit into the skillet.


Darrell suggested that he call a lady we knew in town as ask for her help.  After a long discussion, we finally agreed that help must be sought; he didn’t know how to cut up a chicken either.


He called, and the lady said I should come right over, so we rolled Bessie the Bird into a large paper bag, and I took it to the lady’s house.


She was a nice person.  She was sympathetic and understanding – until I pulled four feet of chicken out of the sack.  Then that nice lady sat down at her kitchen table and laughed until she cried.  Wiping the tears away from her eyes, she went to the wall, and from a hook she took a meat cleaver.  Well, no wonder I had trouble; I didn’t know to use a kitchen axe.  She lifted that cleaver above her head, and with a few swift blows to the blob, she did what I had so wanted to do.  The pieces didn’t look like any parts of a chicken that either one of us had seen before, but they were small enough to be manageable.


I took my chicken puzzle home and fried it to a fine, crispy brown.  Very late that night, we ate our strange little meal.


To this day, I have never again bought a whole chicken.  I had a terrible experience with a frozen turkey once, but invest in another whole chicken – forget it.  I figure the people who work in grocery stores’ meat departments are there for one purpose – to cut up chickens, and I’m thankful that somebody knows how to do it right.


Several years after “the great chicken fight,” as we still choose to call it, we ate with some friends who served a very tasty commercially fried chicken.  The pieces were oddly shaped and no one knew whether he or she was eating a wing, a breast, a leg, or a thigh.  Some of the guests wondered out loud how the pieces came to look so “different.”  Since we had been through this before, Darrell and I just smiled and happily munched around the bones.


For once in our lives, we were way ahead of our time.


8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Judy
    Aug 28, 2008 @ 06:43:27

    I see the apple does not fall far from the tree! So enjoyed Poopsie’s chicken story and I’m a fan of your Blog. And my son attends Mississippi State!


  2. Lora Lynn
    Aug 28, 2008 @ 12:06:24

    Oh, that is rich. I have had my own run in with chickens, let me know if you want to see the link. I may have to link to this, would that be okay if I gave credit where credit is due? HILARIOUS.


  3. Trackback: Vitafamiliae.com -- Life at Full Tilt
  4. Calista
    Aug 29, 2008 @ 00:28:39

    FUNNY!! Your Mama sounds like good people.


  5. thefarmerfiles
    Aug 29, 2008 @ 01:39:52

    My mom used to buy whole raw chickens all of the time. That and drumsticks. I was so traumatized I just don’t eat chicken on the bone unless I am a good guest somewhere. And then it’s a delicacy…a rarity.

    I was trying so hard not to LOL while reading Poopsie’s story. I am sitting outside of sleeping son’s room. 😉


  6. Sister Mary Martha
    Aug 30, 2008 @ 13:50:33

    Julie Child did drop a chicken. I saw it with my own two eyes.


  7. MIssi
    Sep 01, 2008 @ 09:35:04

    loved this chicken story! sounds like a lot of my own kitchen “experiments” as DH calls them.

    and on a day where I needed a good laugh. thanks! =)


  8. Trackback: The Thanksgiving Turkey That Stayed a While « Tater Tales

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