At Christmas time, we ate chicken. This was a rare treat for us. Not that we were vegetarians, far from it.
In Australia in those days, meat was cheap, and we ate lamb chops and beef stews often and had roast lamb or beef every Sunday. But a few days before Christmas, Dad chopped off the head of a chicken. He caught one from our coop, tied its legs together, then lay it on his tree- trunk chopping block and decapitated it.
The deed is done, soon the “chook”, as we called it, was draining into the laundry sink. Then Granny came out and plucked and gutted it. She was practical and matter-of-fact about this procedure, which we kids found disgusting. Our pioneer grandmother told us we were spoiled suburban children and was not patient as she taught us her methods. She muttered under her breath at my squeamishness as she attempted to demonstrate this essential housewifely skill.
I stood by her, gripping the side of the sink as I balanced on a wooden crate and leaned over, getting in the way as her reddening hands worked in the steaming water. As she pulled the white feathers, I grasped one