Group of people on the porch of Strong’s Resort
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From the photo collection at the North Berrien Historical Museum
300 Coloma Avenue, Coloma
The Paw Paw River Journal
A fowl Thanksgiving soliloquy
Soliloquy… lines spoken as if to oneself. In a theatrical play when a person talks to himself and the audience, but the other actors cannot hear him. That’s what my Webster’s has to say about that! So here is my soliloquy on that great holiday! And I must warn you my feelings have not changed about the centerpiece of the annual dinner… and THE TURKEY!
I must admit when that bird comes out of the oven, steaming, golden brown, and carved expertly… it makes for a delicious meal. And all the trimmings! Mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberries, and all the rest. Yes, I do enjoy it! But that’s the limit… no turkey soup, no turkey sandwiches, etc., later! One place I always enjoyed turkey was at The Country Cupboard, a huge cafeteria complex in Pennsylvania. It is on the west bank of the Susquehanna River, just south of Lewisburg. When we vacationed out at Aunt Hope’s, I heaped a generous portion of turkey pot pie on my plate at their sumptuous buffet.
Our daughters do a marvelous job with roasting the bird when we enjoy the holiday with them, but I still hold the line at leftovers! And actually, when it comes to fowl dining, my favorite is fried chicken made by Marion’s Mom! You should have tried the mouth-watering, crusty, golden chicken breasts that came to her table! She browned them first, and then finished them in the oven. First time I saw them was at dinner there. Just returned from WWII, I was almost a member of the family, having proposed marriage to their oldest daughter and having been accepted! We gathered in her dining room of a Sunday, and oh, the platters of food. When the chicken came around, I was just not quick enough, and the white meat was already taken. Marion’s brothers were hungry, growing kids! Next time it came around, I got my dibs in!
Mom Kling always raised chickens. She had several pens… little peepers, another of half-grown, and then the varsity hen house, where eggs were produced, and the laying hens almost dared you to take the eggs they were trying to hatch. Mom Kling had quite an egg production line, and she sold the surplus to our A&P market in Hartford.
One year up in Grand Rapids someone gave our nieces and nephew a baby chick for Easter. Now that is a cruel thing to do, but we didn’t know it back then. My sister, Wilma, said the kids loved that little chick, and it grew up with the freedom of the whole place. Only problem: it didn’t know it was a chicken! That bird went around the house on bug patrol, picking off any creepy crawlies that dared to show up. Wilma said they had nary a spider inside that year!
Finally it became apparent the pet chicken, now half grown, really deserved to be amongst its own kind. So they brought it down to Mom Kling’s chicken ranch. Introduced into the varsity hen house, that bird was terrified! What were all those creatures? It hid behind a hanging burlap bag in terror! Mom Kling tried it in the half grown pen. Same result… a failure to thrive! So she tried it in the pen with the little peepers. Ah… nothing to fear there! And after that the pet chicken grew up with the youngest generation to glorious chickenhood!