There was always a dog or a cat or something running around when we were kids. My eldest sister ‘Pam’ kept chickens in our first house and this story perpetuates itself at all of our family gatherings, it goes like this. Pam used to look after the chickens and they were all personally named by her, the favourite was a fowl called ‘Henrietta’.
I grew up in the early 1960s and in those days there was still a lot of subsistence living, people were not wealthy so they grew their own produce at home and kept chickens for table food, such was the case with our Grandad who used to kill one of his chickens from time to time for the Sunday roast.
We were terribly holy in those days and used to attend Mass on Sunday … anyway, the evil sister that this post is about (Beverley) was at home sick while we were at church one particular Sunday and Grandad (who fought in the great war and could never believe in a God again) came around to get one of our chickens to kill for lunch. He asked Beverley which one he should take and of course she gleefully pointed out Henrietta.
So, the job was done, the family arrived back from church, Mum had a fresh chicken to bake for lunch and all was well with the world. I used to love those Sunday lunches, back then we used to watch ‘World championship wrestling’ with Wallaby Bob McMasters … we used to think it was so real! We couldn’t be convinced otherwise. Mum called everyone in for lunch and we took our places at the table and tucked into a memorable roast chicken lunch.
The evil sister couldn’t contain herself as she asked Pam ‘How is Henrietta today Pam?’ – my poor sister replied that she hadn’t been out to see the chickens yet today and would be going to tend them after lunch.
Waiting until Pam had another fork full of food in her mouth Beverley exclaimed triumphantly ‘You know you’re eating her don’t you?’
As the heads at the table snapped to look at her, shrieking, Pam spat food all over the table and burst into tears, screaming and crying. The evil sister was beside herself with laughter (so were my brother and I but once we saw the look on Dad’s face we shut up quick smart)
Well, pandemonium ensued with my Mum trying to console Pam and my Dad grabbing Bev and giving her a belting while the rest of us sat there with mouths agape wondering what was going to happen next. What started out as a coup for my sister Bev ended poorly for her, worse than she could have ever expected. My parents couldn’t see the funny side of it at all.
‘It’s only a bloody chook’ said Grandad who couldn’t see what all of the fuss was about. Yes, it was fun growing up with pets.