Mocha Dad (when he was just a Mocha Lad) and I were hanging out on the back porch of our grandparents’
house. Just as we were settling in for a lazy afternoon, our great-Aunt Eva yelled to us in her Creole dialect, “Y’all go fetch one of dem chickens out de yard.”
Times were different then. If an elder instructed you to do something, then you did it. No questions asked. Mocha Dad and I looked at each other incredulously. We were not about to disobey Aunt Eva’s command, but we both knew we had no intentions of touching those chickens. After all, they were dirty, smelly, and had big fangs and evil eyes (at least that’s how our young minds perceived them).
We tentatively walked into the chicken pen. There were several birds around us, pecking, scratching, and minding their own business. Finally, we focused on one of the less intimidating birds. We walked towards it and it scooted away. We broke into a half-hearted pursuit and the chicken dashed off, clucking (I’m sure it was laughing at our pathetic efforts to catch it). It was obvious to this bird-brain that it was in no danger whatsoever.
After about fifteen minutes of “chasing” the bird, Aunt Eva came outside to see what was taking so long. I can only imagine what was going on in her mind watching two city boys dancing the salsa with this chicken. She just shook her head and ordered us to get out of the way.
“Y’all ain’t no ‘count!” Translated-You two are of no good account. You are the sorriest excuses of chicken catchers I have ever seen in all my years. Both of you should just crawl back into your mother’s’ wombs and cry yourselves to sleep. Girlie Men!
With that, this elderly woman hitched up her Sunday dress and broke out into a full sprint. She caught that chicken in no time flat! She grabbed it by its neck and, to our horror, spun it around like a yo-yo.
She dropped the chicken and looked at us with disgust as the poor bird did its death dance. When the bird stopped moving, she picked it up and took it inside to prepare it for dinner, mumbling about how worthless we were the whole time.
Despite the tongue-lashing we received, Mocha Dad and I felt like we got away with murder. The ploy worked. We didn’t have to touch that nasty bird and all we got out of it were a few insults from our great aunt and a home-cooked chicken dinner.