Thursday, June 10, 2010

A Slice of a Memory, with a little English

It was hot.  I was young, and in my grandparents' barn on Montgomery Creek in Knott Co., Kentucky.  I was standing with my father, my grandfather and my great-uncle, who was married to my grandpa's sister.  His name was Goble Allen, and I think his wife was very sick at the time, and in a nursing home.  He was staying with my grandparents.

So we were standing there, looking at a calf.  It was very young, not much bigger than a good sized dog.  It had a big ol' pink nose, & was cuter than your girl friend, as some people liked to say.  It stood there and looked up at us with big dark calf eyes, and I looked back.

After awhile I said, "What are you going to do with it?"  Now please understand, I was young, and this probably came out sounding something along the lines of "Wut air ye gonna do 'ith it?"  Something close to that, anyway.

Uncle Goble spoke right up, "Why, we're going to eat it".   Which may have sounded something like "Wha, we're a-gonna eat 'er".   No mincing words for the 5 year old (maybe 6).

In both intances, to get the full effect of the words, you have to say them pretty slow, while at the same time running some sounds together, while sort of swallowing some of the other sounds, and stretching out some others.  Absolutely nothing is "slurred", and nobody talked "through their nose".  If you didn't grow up there, you'll never say it quite right.  Which doesn't make it anything special - almost everywhere is like that.

I already knew where chicken dinner came from.  More than once I had followed a chicken every step of the way from the time it was running around my  grandparents' yard to the time it was on the dinner table, with all the gruesomeness in between.  I used to think about that.  That ol' chicken's scratching around for food like normal with all the other chickens, and it doesn't have a clue.  All of a sudden a little old lady's chasing it.  All the other chickens just stand around or get out of the way.  The chicken, who woke up just like normal had no idea that long before the day was done it's life would be over.  When grandma was trying to catch it, it didn't know what was going on.  I thought, maybe if it knew, it would hide.  I was a little guy and I thought about stuff like that.  I felt sorry for it.  It didn't keep me from eating it though.

And another translation, just so you know.  What we called dinner, most people now call lunch.  The evening meal was supper. Still is.  Chicken dinner was typically an after-church mid-day meal.

I learned at a very early age to not become emotionally attached to farm animals, especially chickens and pigs.


Patti Anne said...

What happened to the Calf????

Patti Anne said...

What happened to the calf?

A Valdese Blogger said...

Patti Anne: I'm pretty sure it eventually got eaten.

Heather said...

I would never make it on a farm! I would starve to death. I love chicken, but try really hard to not think about when it was clucking for life!

Poor baby calf..

A Valdese Blogger said...

Heather: Yep - I try not to think about the large slaughter houses and meat packing plants. I'm glad I had that experience when I was young tho - at least I know where food comes from. (at a high level - some of this stuff you have to wonder)