The “C” Stands for Careful
the frantic and seemingly useless actions of someone who did not know what they were doing; but I had never given any thought to its origin. Grampa reached into the cage and caught the first chicken. He placed the bird’s neck between the two nails on the block and raised his hatchet. I fled into the basement workshop and hid just inside the doorway, pushing my back against the cool, whitewashed wall. From my sanctuary, I heard the hatchet fall, followed by the sound of wings beating against the side of the box. The sequence of sounds was repeated as Grampa quickly dispatched the chickens. The final whack of the hatchet signaled the end, but then Grampa began shout-
ture of it all when we got back to Grampa’s house and he began to get things ready for the killing and cleaning of the chickens. The process fascinated me. He had a chopping block that had two nails set in it a few inches apart. Next to the nails was a jagged, stained groove in the block, about the width of a hatchet blade. Below and off to the side of the block was a large cardboard box with the top ready to be slammed shut as soon as the hapless chicken’s body dropped in. “You have to do that or else they’ll run around like a chicken with its head cut off,” he said with a laugh. I had heard that expression many times. My mother used it to describe
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Tidewater Times July 2013