A Word About the Second Best Pet I Ever Had

In case you missed it, this post is about the best pet I ever had. But then all the talk about chickens got me to thinking about the second best pet I ever had.

When I was 14, I came into possession of a chicken. I think it was one of those misdirected Easter chicks that somehow got into the Easter basket of a friend’s little brother. My friend’s little brother was almost our age chronologically , but since he had Down’s Syndrome, he was forever three years old. After the blush began to fade on the baby chick, as it usually does within a couple of weeks when the pin feathers come in, there came to be a dilemma as to where to house it. My friend lived in a housing development, and had a fairly small yard. We lived outside of the area and our yard was over an acre. We had a huge garden, and at various times, chickens, geese and a pony. That’s how I inherited the chicken.

Eventually, my chicken grew up to be a red rooster. I think he was a Long Island Red. I’m not sure where that particular breed of chicken got its name. I can’t imagine chickens in New York, much less Long Island. However, I can imagine iced tea in Long Island, which is why that drink is one of my summertime favorites.

But I’m going completely off track here.

I named the chicken Charlie. Get it? Charlie WOO-ster. Charlie was a beautiful chicken, mostly brownish red with a magnificent splay of multicolored tail feathers. He was just a few pea gravel bits smarter than the hens. Besides waking us up every morning, he was pretty feisty too. He’d chase the geese around the yard, which was more than I could do.

Even though he was a chicken, and chickens are stupid, Charlie was a favorite pet. He ruled the roost for two years.

One day, I came back from high school, and my chicken was gone. I asked my mother where was Charlie? She said we were having him for dinner.

FOR DINNER!

[Yes, there was a heavy thud.]

Charlie was two years old and well past his prime. However, I think my mother was weary of dodging rooster beak every time she went into the garden. So she twisted his head off and plucked him clean. (Before you start “ewwing”, we raised chickens so this was a common occurrence.)

That night, she made fried chicken. I was despondent. I wanted to remember Charlie in his splendor, not cut into eight pieces and coated in Bisquick batter. I couldn’t be forced to sit at the table, and went to my bed crying, where I stayed for a good three days before I felt better.

My father ate Charlie, but proclaimed it the worst chicken dinner ever. It appears that age and free-reign over the garden had made my C. Wooster very tough indeed.

I’ve since distanced myself from feeling chicken love. It was too painful the first time.