Tag Archives: Women

One Tough Chick

17 Jul

My Take

DiVoran Lites

 

After an illustration by Avanti Cards

 

Mothers and grandmothers are tough. I’ve received two of the same card over the years, one from our son, Billy, and one from my sister-in-law, Judy. The picture on the front shows a stocky little old lady, like me, in jeans and a plaid shirt. She wears a string of pearls that match her white hair, and holds the handles of a jackhammer over broken cement. The inside caption says, “Motherhood…it’s not for sissies! Happy Mother’s Day”

At church one day, a few years ago, I talked to some women about giving them frozen chickens from my freezer. They weren’t mine, a friend from another church asked me to store them. Then the church didn’t need them back, after all. My friend, Paula, who had two hip replacements–with her daughter’s help– hauled ten pound bags of dressed chickens from their car to friends’ doors, including mine. Paula is tough.

The first person I approached, our pastor’s wife, said she could take four. Rachel, is the perfect picture of the Proverbs 31 woman. She entertains with dinners for six, takes casseroles to anyone who needs them, takes care of old people, acts as peace-maker in the church, keeps family and church books, and sees that the church is scrupulously clean. She ministers to broken hearts and counsels people on marriage and children. She teaches Bible classes, and dresses beautifully. Rachel is tough.

I talked to Lila about the three remaining chickens. Lila, a woman with great style was probably once wealthy. Judging by her gentleness, she may at one time have been a Flower Child. Now, she and her family are quite poor. Eight of them live together in one house. While Lila’s daughter, is in re-hab for drug addiction, Lila and her husband care for three very rowdy grandsons and a new baby granddaughter. Lila and her husband do everything they can to keep the family fed and cared for. She also has accumulated ten cats and a dog. Lila is a sweet Christian woman. She goes out of her way to extend love to everyone including the next door neighbor who hates them all. Lila is tough.

While Lila and I were in the church kitchen talking about chickens, Lila picked up a large ant with her fingers. She turned to put it outside, but it ran up her arm and fell to the floor. While she was looking for it, Rachel came into the kitchen, saw the ant and stepped on it.

“I was going to put it someplace else,” Lila said softly.

“It is someplace else,” said Rachel, in her what’s next voice.+

We three women, standing in the small church kitchen, went back to talking about chickens. We had all cut up chickens, but we had not all cleaned or plucked them. Of course, Rachel had. She was reared in a coal mining town where you had to be practical or starve.

When I was a child many people kept chickens in their back yard even in town. I remembered my grandparents chose a chicken from their coop for supper one day. It was still early in the day as it took a while to prepare it for cooking. I was there when Granddad axed off the head. Suddenly the headless chicken got away and started running all over the back yard leaving splashes of blood in the grass. I was only five years old, and started laughing. Shocked, grandmother hushed me and got me out of the way. When the chicken collapsed, Grandmother picked up the now still carcass and pulled out all the big feathers. At some point she gutted it, saving the heart and gizzard, which were considered delicacies. She then put the bird into a cauldron of boiling water to loosen the tiny pin feathers. At last it was all done and grandmother took it into the kitchen to boil it and serve it with chicken and noodles. That’s one of my favorite dishes to this day, don’t ask me why. Grandmother was tough.

Lila said she had never cleaned a chicken, but she had cleaned fish. I had too, since my dad was a fisherman. She said she had to clean a rabbit once. (Cleaning means taking out the insides). She didn’t know how so she pretended it was a fish and did fine.

Rachel said she killed, plucked, and cleaned ten chickens and cooked them all in one day.

So I must say again, women are tough and I’m glad I get to be one.

Judy is tough too. I don’t know how she feels about chickens, though, I just know you’ve got to be mighty tough to be the wife of a military man.

“A capable, intelligent and virtuous woman, who is he who can find her? She is far more precious than jewels, and her value is far above rubies or pearls.” Proverbs 31:10

 

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