Appalachian Thursday–A Birthday Memory

candlesI’m turning 45 today. I’ve opted to brag about my age rather than quibble about it. I’ve known too many ladies who loved to lay claim to being the oldest person still living in our little community to blush at something as arbitrary as age.

I’m celebrating with some gifts and plenty of good food. Friends are helping me transition to the next year of my life with laughter and love. But as much as I enjoy reveling in my birthday, it will never quite match up to those birthdays past.

When we were kids, Mom would pile beautifully wrapped gifts on the counter or in the kitchen window a week or so out, giving us time to anticipate what was inside. I still enjoy some solid anticipation. On the actual day, I got to choose what I wanted for supper. Fried chicken, thank you. And macaroni and cheese and if there must be a vegetable, green beans will do. Mom took cake decorating classes, so I had some magnificent cakes over the years. The cake baked in a bowl, then turned upside down to look like the skirt of the doll poked in the top was a favorite.

But back to the fried chicken.

When I turned eight or so, I remember that Dad actually killed the chicken Mom fried. Mostly, we had chickens for eggs, but we ate one now and again. Those were the days before I was quite so prone to try and make a pet out of any critter I encountered. Eating farm animals was just what we did.

This chicken, though, was special. Because it was my birthday, Dad removed it’s head and then . . . let the body go. You may have heard the phrase, “Running around like a chicken with it’s head cut off.” And maybe you haven’t examined that phrase too closely. But it’s apt. And when you’re eight, it’s the craziest thing you’ve ever seen.

And maybe, 37 years later, it’s still just about the craziest thing you’ve ever seen.

Happy birthday to me!

17 thoughts on “Appalachian Thursday–A Birthday Memory

  1. Ellen Vuillier

    Truly enjoyed your story Sarah! I did not grow up on a farm, but my family had our own traditions….Thank you for sharing yours.

  2. mom

    Happy Birthday to you indeed!!! Loved making your birthdays special. I remember the doll cake, but the biggest reaction I remember you having was the first cake after you started school and were not home to watch me decorate it. Red sleigh (at your request and hard to find in the days when Christmas decorations did not appear in the stores before December first.) I love you and all these birthday memories you have stirred.

  3. Happy birthday to you! I was a little younger but had the same experience with the chicken! Still to this day 60 years or so later, I see it in my mind, but I still love to ear chicken! Have a blessed day of celebration and as my mawmaw said, “age is just a number!”

  4. Lori Dew

    Happy Birthday Sarah! Hope it was a very special day for a very special lady. I love your writing. It is so beautiful and I can see it in my head always! I can just imagine your home filled with laughter and headless chicken! Ha!!

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