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New York Public Library

This is a three things story for Teagan’s blog at the following link:

Three Things Fire Rooster

The challenge is to write a story using the words fire, rooster, and calendar. Following is my story.


by P.S. Joshi

Mary hated to do it, but they did have an old rooster and a young rooster now and times were still hard. Pa finally was back to work in the coalmine after breaking his leg so the future looked brighter.

She checked the calendar on the kitchen wall where she’d circled tomorrow’s date, June 1, 1901, when Pa would get paid. For today she’d have to make due with what she had.

Mary took out a metal canister of flour and the big iron pot. With salt, pepper, and milk she could fix chicken and dumplings. The milk could stay in the ice box until needed. Yesterday she’d put the dried string beans from the garden to soak. With flour and milk she’d make a white sauce for them when they’d boiled.

She put wood from a box beside the stove inside it and lit a match starting the fire. Then she put two kettles of water on to boil. Resolutely she took out the hand ax and carried a chair outside into the back yard. She put down old newspaper and weighted it with rocks.

“Toby!” she shouted, “I need you.”

Her younger brother aged ten came running. Seeing the ax, he guessed what she wanted.

“Heck, Mary, we only got two chickens and two roosters. You gonna’ kill old Barney?”

She shook her head and he started looking. The darn bird could hide like anything.

Finally, the boy came running from behind the hen house, the rooster several feet ahead. He finally managed to grab the bird by the legs, taking it to the chopping block. In a moment it was over.

Mary sat on the chair and started plucking. When the bird was plucked free she took it into the kitchen and scalded it in the boiled water so the pin feathers would come off.

The next step was to clean out the inside back on the paper, saving some of the organs in a bowl to use for gravy and biscuits for breakfast the next day. She washed the bird under the outside pump as Toby worked the handle.

The cut up chicken went into the hot water of the second pot.

By the time Pa came home and washed up, she had a delicious dinner of chicken, dumplings, and cooked beans with white sauce ready to be served. They all said grace and sat down to dinner.



Written Act of Kindness Award



5 thoughts on “HARD TIMES

  1. First Old Clop and now old Barney! It just doesn’t do to be old on this farm, it seems!

    Alas, times were hard. Kudos to Mary for her resourcefulness and for doing what needed to be done when it needed doing (and with style, no less).

    Liked by 1 person

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