Friday, 1 December 2006

Fond Memories of KFC (Knackered Fat Chicken)

Over the years my siblings and I must collectively have kept at least two dozen pets. We’ve had the usual dogs, cats, budgies, canaries and fish, as well as terrapins, ducks, an imaginary horse called Rowan (oh, how I wanted a horse!), and the chickens. A chicken was an odd sort of pet for me, considering I was rather afraid of them – as a tiny wee mite visiting my grandparents’ farm, the chickens were at least half my height and, sensing their advantage, used to run at me rather than away from me. Still, my grandparents were indulgent and like most things we begged of them, gave us the chicks without question. They would even have gifted us with the piglets we were so keen for, if Mum hadn’t finally put her foot down.

I proudly named my chicken Sandy, after Sandy the fish monster from Monkey Magic, and I still think of Sandy as a ‘him’ today, even though he was of the egg-laying persuasion. Unfortunately, Sandy suffered from delusions of anthropomorphism, and consequently decided that he would eat himself into obesity just like the hundreds of millions of other people in the world.

Poor Sandy – I can still see him in my mind’s eye, tottering around on little chicken legs far too inadequate for his great bulk, sometimes collapsing and struggling pitifully to rise. Inevitably and perhaps mercifully, there came the day when I was solemnly informed that Sandy had passed on to heaven.

I never enquired what happened to Sandy’s earthly body, nourished too much for its own good, preferring to maintain the belief he was buried in some quiet part of the garden. If I start to think that maybe he became a tasty dinner for the dogs and cats, or, quelle horreur, ended up in one of the chicken curries that so frequently graced our table, I enter a metaphorical state of stuffing my fingers in my ears and shouting lalalalala! Until those nasty thoughts go away.

Sandy has never been forgotten. I am no longer afraid of chickens, although I maintain a healthy respect for other poultry which seem to have the same uncanny knack for sensing my fear and pursuing me mercilessly. And my siblings, usually so tender-hearted when it comes to our pets, still derive much gleeful amusement from teasing me about Sandy’s unfortunate demise.

Sandy, wherever you are, may you soar like an eagle, lay eggs without effort and never lack for corn and worms.

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