After watching Matlock today, I felt inspired to add a comment to the ongoing discussion of poultry. Matlock was gathering eggs, and a contentious biddy pecked him viciously. To which attack, Matlock commented, "I hate chickens. I hate chicken coops. They stink." And he gave up gathering the eggs.
I would like to point out, however, with all the modesty of Usain Bolt, that I was a member of the Wyoming State Champion Poultry Judging Team my senior year of high school. We were awarded a 3-ft. tall trophy for this incredible accomplishment which graced the shelves of the vo-ag classroom for generations as a tribute to our excellence. Judging livestock and all farm critters keeps FFA boys busy by trying to pick and justify rankings of said critters. We had never judged a chicken in our lives, with my only connection, poultry-wise, being that of scraping the obnoxious residue of their week's labors off the roosts once a week, certain that the little red mites thereon would kill me before the day was over. But when we were in Laramie for the state judging contests, the livestock judging contest being the epitome of FFA judging, our vo-ag teacher gathered a half dozen of us together in the lobby of the Connor Hotel, graced by a series of Dad's original lamps and lampshades and Molesworth desks, and announced that we were judging chickens the next day. Moans and groans and do-we-have-tos. I knew that if you chopped the head off a chicken and flung it on the ground, it would flop around for a bit before reaching the frying pan. Our teacher taught us how to judge chickens: "Put the one you would most like to eat as number 1, the next best at number 2, etc." Lo and behold, his coaching worked, and we became the champion chicken judges of Wyoming.
Our reward was an expense paid trip to Waterloo, Iowa to the National FFA Poultry Judging Contest. Waterloo was our waterloo, however, as our miniscule poultry judging skills and non-existent knowledge ran out on us early. But we did get to visit the John Deere factory and the Rath Packing Plant where I had the incredible opportunity of watching how they made weinies. I would elaborate, but some of our dear readers may still like hot dogs and I do not want to ruin their appetites. Since then, I have been happy to buy eggs in paper cartons without having to worry about which chicken I would rather eat. The chicken I prefer to eat today is a five buck chicken from Costco, with my set-it-and-forget-it Ronco Rotisserie safely ensconced on my basement storeroom shelf, no more to be labored over for 2 hours to clean up the mess after a lovely rotisseried chicken has been rotisseried. I will be happy to send it to you, express collect, if you are not near a Costco and like to watch your very own private chicken go through its last rites in the Ronco Rotisserie.