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11.23.2012

THE AGE OF POULTRY



When I was a kid growing up we raised chickens and turkeys.  They were grown and fed to eventually slaughter to fill our freezer with poultry.  Vegetarians out there please take a deep breath!  I am more than ok with you NOT eating meat and allow you that choice if you will give me the choice TO eat meat.  

No cruelty to animals occurred in the raising of these various types of poultry.  They were fed and given freedom to be a chicken or a turkey inside the barn.  I always felt a twinge of sadness while holding a new baby chick in my hand knowing their cuteness would soon morph into gawkiness and then to full grown chicken looks.  Grown chickens really aren't cute or attractive.  That made it way easier to eventually eat them as fried chicken, chicken and noodles or chicken pot pie.   

When full grown and weight appropriate for butchering we had to catch the chickens and turkeys inside their pen in the barn and crate them for transport to be killed and dressed.  The best time of day to do that was early in the morning before the light of day.  You would have to sneak up behind them, grab their legs, flip them upside down and quickly put them in wooden crates.  The chickens were much easier, lighter and dumber than the turkeys.  Just like humans there are levels of smartness even in the poultry family.

The turkeys obviously weighed considerably more than the chickens, had an intuitive sense about them and were more aggressive than their poultry cousins.  Sneaking up or even chasing a turkey about the pen was both exhilarating and frightening.  They did not want to be grabbed by their legs and stuffed in a wooden crate.  And, they made it hard by not going easily or quietly - squawking, running at you, pecking unmercifully at you if your hand got near their beaks.  The trick was quickness, agility and timing.

I thought about those baby chickens and baby turkeys yesterday on Thanksgiving as I sat to eat some dark meat with a touch of gravy and a side of cranberry sauce.  How does something so cute become so unattractive and yet so good to eat?

I sort of felt that too.  It seems of late I have wondered about my own journey of age.  Much like those baby chicks morphing to gawky birds and then to full grown chickens, I have felt the aging process piling up.  I'm not sure how we can busy about life unaware and then occasionally feel like age slams into us from behind.  Like we are being grabbed by our legs, swung upside and thrown into a crate.

We age chronologically at the same pace daily,  But, there are times where it seems to collect and then crash into us causing us to show age more poignantly and blaringly than at other times.  We catch a glimpse of ourselves from time to time and see that the stress of life, the wear and tear of the years is showing itself.  It's like we have more cake on us and not enough frosting to cover it at some point.

We are no longer baby chicks or gawky teenagers but full-grown ready to be butchered not so attractive completely aged poultry.  We have finally become valuable for our insides, but our outsides are not so attractive.

I can so relate to Tom Turkey:)

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