My Odd Encounters with Chicken and Chicken(s)

My Odd Encounters with Chicken and Chicken(s)

I’ve had some very strange, yet horrific (to me), encounters with chicken and chicken(s) over the course of my life. Strange, horrific encounters with chicken/chicken(s), you ask? Let me explain, y’all.

It all started when I was in 9th grade. Every Friday, a group of my friends and I would go out for lunch break to a local fast food restaurant. We always switched it up. This particular Friday, somebody picked Wendy’s. I’ve always loved Wendys…I love a cheeseburger, fries and Frosty – and to dip the fries in the Frosty. For some reason, that day I decided to order a chicken sandwich – not grilled, but the fried, breaded chicken sandwich. All of a sudden, out of nowhere, as I’m sittin’ there eatin’ my food and talkin’ to my friends, something SLAPPED me on the chin! I was startled and pulled my sandwich back to look at it and figure out what the heck had just happened and this THING was hanging from my chicken, y’all. It was this LONG, BOUNCY, STRETCHY, HANGY, TUBULAR, PURPLISH THING!!! And it just sat there mocking me, bouncin’ up and down in front of me, danglin’ from my chicken sandwich. This THING had just slapped my chin and it kinda hurt! I HOLLERED so loud and threw my chicken sandwich down and was screaming, “That chicken just slapped me in the chin!!!” Everybody was literally staring at me with their mouths open. I didn’t even care. I was so freaked out. I threw that darn sandwich away and went got a burger. My friends were dying laughing at me, but I swear it scarred me. For years, I didn’t even think about eating chicken outside of my home, where my Momma or Daddy had fixed it for me and I knew it was safe.

It even happened with like sliced deli chicken and turkey! There would be some funky like purplish vein in it that would bounce off my teeth when I would eat a sandwich, so that grossed me out and I had to stop eating deli meat too.

Fast forward to college…I was at the mall with a friend of mine and she was telling about this place called ChickfilA and that I just HAAAAAAD to get a chicken sandwich there – they were SOOOOO good. I stopped her in her tracks and told her about my Wendy’s chicken sandwich experience and that I would not be getting a sandwich. Nuggets, maybe – they’re tiny so there’s less chance of some LONG, BOUNCY, STRETCHY, HANGY, TUBULAR, PURPLISH thing to slap me. Well she just kept going on and on about the sandwich and told me that ChickfilA was really good quality…we weren’t talking about Wendy’s. So, I gave in and ordered the chicken sandwich. I mean the likelihood that what happened to me at Wendy’s years ago would happen again are slim to none, right? WRONG. With the VERY FIRST bite I took of the ChickfilA chicken sandwich, something was danglin’ from that sandwich. Now, it didn’t slap me like the one at Wendy’s; but nevertheless, somethin’ was danglin’ from that dadgum sandwich. I boxed that thing up and to the ditch it went. I haven’t had a chicken sandwich since…nor do I order chicken at any restaurant, unless it’s nuggets from ChickfilA – and I order them well done just in case…let’s crisp up whatever may be hangin’, shall we?

My college roommate and I had this weird phase where we really liked chickens – the animals – not the food. We had a “Chicken Quote of the Day” we would leave them on a dry erase board of our dorm room door and people would walk by and stop to read it and we would hear them dying laughing as they walked off. We loved it and really got into it. One of the quotes my roommate put on there once was “One Day All the Chickens Will Rise and Rule the World and We Will Bow Down to Them” Oh.My.Word. So funny, but so stupid in retrospect. I’m sure people in our dorm thought we had lost our marbles. We went to the University of Arkansas (Fayetteville) and the Tyson chicken headquarters is in Springdale, AR, which is right by Fayetteville. One day I had this “great” idea to drive to the Tyson chicken plant and get a chicken for myself and my roommate to have as a dorm pet, which is illegal BTW. My friend Paige and I drove up to a random Tyson parking lot and I walked to a door and knocked. A guy opened the door:

Guy – May I help you?
Me – I’d like a chicken please.
Guy – (pause, pause, pause) Ummmmm, ok. Come on in.

Paige and I walked in and were shocked at what we saw. The dude started opening drawers, DRAWERS, and out would pop baby chickens! They keep them in drawers! Then he’d say, “Nah” and slam the drawer back, not considering their little heads as he slammed them shut. After numerous drawers, he finally decided on one and handed it to me. It was so stinkin’ precious! But I realized that I had nothing to put it in…not a towel or anything. So he handed me a cardboard box and I carefully put the chicken in it and Paige and I headed off back to campus. About a block from the Tyson chicken plant, I felt really bad for the chick because it was all alone, so we turned around and went back and asked for one more and they obliged. {Side note – from that point on, anytime we would pass a Tyson chicken 18-wheeler on the interstate, we would honk and scream horrible things to them because of the way they stored those baby chicks.} By the time we got back to our dorm room, we were the proud owners of Chuck E. Chicken and Matilda the Clucking Hairball. I got a glass cage and a heat lamp for them and some food. My roommate was PUMPED!!!!! Problem – those dern chicks WOULD NOT SLEEP. They were practicing super hard on their clucking. They kept us awake that whole first night. We wrote on our dry erase board “SHHHHH, chickens are asleep” when they finally conked out. People came from all over to see Chuck and Matilda. I took them home to West Memphis during Christmas break and decided that they “would be better off” under the care of my Momma and Daddy. Oh my word, I just couldn’t deal with those chicks anymore! My parents were NOT THRILLED with that decision, but being the amazing parents there are, they kept them. As they turned from chicks to chickens, Momma said they weren’t as cute any more and really became a nuisance in the house, so Daddy “Took them to the farm where they can run and play with other chickens.” Yea, right. Numerous references were made about Chuck and Matilda over the years whenever Daddy would fry us chicken.

Also while in college, I was on the Arkansas pom pon squad…so amazing! I absolutely loved it! My very first game to cheer was a football game in 1993. It was the first home game of the season, in fact. I was so pumped. We were playing South Carolina and their mascot is the Gamecock (a chicken). Well now, I’m from West Memphis, AR (see my redneck ghetto reference in my Southern Dictionary on my website) so I can get rowdy. At the time, South Carolina’s quarterback was Steve Tanneyhill and he had this really long hair and seemed rather cocky to me, although I had never spoken a single word to the guy. I think I just wanted to hate him because he was really good and the Hogs weren’t. Anyway, the Gamecock walked past the pom squad during the first quarter and was taunting us (as mascots do), and it fired me up. My redneck ghetto came out unexpectedly. I sauntered over to that Gamecock and got right in his face and said, “Tanneyhill SUCKS!” Y’all, I will never ever in all of my life forget what happened next…THAT DERN CHICKEN SLAPPED ME!!!! He slapped me right across my cheek with his gloved hand! It hurt so badly, but I couldn’t show it. I just stood there with my mouth wide open in shock and the other girls came running over to me. I had a big old red handprint on my face. Our sponsor was furious until I told her what I said to him. Needless to say, I learned my lesson that day on what WAS and WAS NOT appropriate to say to a team mascot. But how crazy that it was a CHICKEN????

The last chicken incident that comes to mind is dealing with a rotisserie chicken. For the love of man…who on earth decided it was a good idea to behead some animals, shove a huge metal skewer through their headless bodies and rotate them around over a fire, right in the front of the restaurant people are entering? It’s horrendous. The last thing I want to see when I’m about eat is some dadgum beheaded animals!!!!! Good Lord! And I just this year pep-talked myself into buying a rotisserie chicken in Reasor’s. I swear I stood in front of that headless chicken display talking to myself for 10 minutes before I put it in my cart. Then the whole way home, I was worried to death that the thing was gonna climb out of the grocery sack, walk its headless self up to the front seat, and strangle me as I drove home. Thankfully, I made it home safe and laid it on the counter. I was talking to myself:
“They say it makes dinnertime so much easier!”
“They say it’s delicious!”
“They say my time in the kitchen will decrease substantially!”
I got out disposable gloves and a knife and I promise you I screamed and hollered the entire time I was getting the meat off. Oh.My.Word it’s so awful!!!! I felt like I was committing murder!!!! I was sweating and pitted out by the time I finished and my kids were scared of me.

It’s crazy how one thing…a chicken of all things…has woven its way through my life and given me so many stories to share. I hope that maybe you got at least a little laugh from it! And don’t say I didn’t warn you if you get slapped in the chin by a chicken sandwich!!!!!!

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Comments (27)

  1. Erica

    Hi Melis thank you for
    Bringing back so many hoot and holler stories from college about the dang chiakens! My kids know all about yelling “chicken killer!” At all the tyson trucks around NWA — problem is we see too many of them on a daily basis around here kind of have to stop honking. ❤️ you! And I do love chicken 🍗 too.

  2. Melanie McCain Grace

    Momma and Daddy didn’t take care of those derm chickens…it was meeeeee. 🙋🏻🙋🏻🙋🏻 They even slept in my room. And, I’m pretty sure Daddy gave them to Janie, our housekeeper. She probably rang their necks and fried them up. So sad. I’ve had a few veiny chicken things myself. It’s so disgusting.

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