To this day, I hate chickens. If you have ever had to use a stick to dig the chicken poop from between your toes on a summer day when you were a kid, you understand. In my childhood, chickens didn't come from cellophane wrapped packages in the meat section of the grocery store. Chickens ran freely around our farm yard with the single purpose of terrorizing me.
It was my job to help gather eggs. I hated the job because I hated the chickens. They scared me. Mom would tell me just to shoo them away. But she was big, and I was little. I didn't seem to receive the same respect from the fowls as Mom did.
One day when were about to leave to go into town I was sent to see if there were any eggs in the chicken house. As I came walking back from the orchard and the chicken house toward civilization, I noticed in the corner of my eye, the big old rooster and his frightening beak running directly toward me. Decision time. He was too close to outrun and in my imagination I felt him pecking at the calves of my legs. I carefully lowered the egg basket to the ground (smart enough not to let the eggs break), put my face into a slight indentation on the ground, covered my eyes and began to scream.
Mom heard my screams from inside the house and came running. She said as she rounded the shed, all she could see was me on the ground with the rooster pecking at my head and blood flying everywhere. Dad was a step behind her with the shotgun. Mom ran toward the attacking rooster, shooed him away from me and Dad opened fire on the culprit. Evidently he killed the beast with the first shot, but kept pumping the gun. Mom shouted that they could use the rooster for stew but she said by the time Dad emptied the gun, there were only a few feathers left.
The part of the story which always warmed my heart was that Dad emptied the gun of all the shot into that rooster who had attacked his little girl. Oh, how he must have been angry to react as he did. Upon reading this story, my editor and husband, said anyone who had hunted with Dad knew he always emptied his gun at whatever he shot. Hmm. Maybe my special memory is just a little flawed.