Like the year her sister, Chlorene, forgot to buy food colorin' to dye the Easter eggs for the Sunday school kids and tried to boil them suckers in Koolaid, or the time Aunt Florene thought it was okay to substitute Colgate tooth powder for the cream of tartar in her lemon meringue pie - meringue never did fluff, but the grit and the citrus shined up those molars. Sigh. Yep, wunna those days, yessiree Bob.
Here it was Thanksgiving mornin', and that dumb ol' bird was still sittin' in the deep freeze, rock-solid hard through and through. Chlorene plumb forgot her part in the holiday preparations, but that weren't nothin' new. Bourine, for extra good measure, enlisted the help of Uncle Styrene (who dearly loved stuffed turkey) to remind Chlorene of her upcomin' chores, but seems even uncles aren't dependable anymore. The Geddes clan was surely goin' to hell in a handbasket.
What to do, what to do?
Bourine guessed she'd just have to drive up to Mama Mohrine's House of Fine Poultry to see if perchance Mama might have saved back one last turkey or chicken from the Wednesday sale. As her old Dodge Dart pulled up at the store, Bourine was temporarily dismayed to see the big red "Closed" sign hanging on the front door, but she knew to circle 'round back to the dirt road that led down the hill to Mama's old doublewide. The stench of chicken crap usually preceded a visit long before you caught sight of the front porch; depended on if you timed your arrival with a blue norther or a warm southern front.
The wind was with Bourine on this chilly Thursday morning as she knocked on the sagging screen door. She knocked twice, but there was no answer. Bamboo chimes made in Taiwan pealed melodiously from the pecan tree in the front yard and an old iron rooster weather vane swung rustily squawking on the roof, but there was no other sound. Even more ominous - no gobble gobbles of Toms nor the distinctive clucking of hens could be heard from the poultry pens out back. Except for the patches of dried poop splattered here and there, the other lone evidence of past occupancy was a few short white feathers floating in the breeze.
Bourine was puzzled; what could it all mean?
Walking closer to a saltbox-roofed poultry barn, Bourine spied a sheet of paper torn from a small spiral-bound notebook tacked to the doorframe, a pencil-scratched message penned upon it:
"Plucked the last bird, and I'm retirin' to Vegas".
Love, Mama Mohrine
As was the case across the south, chicken houses were closing their doors, nailing their shutters on a history of service. Bourine didn't blame Mama for wantin' out of the poultry business, but she sure chose a bad day to retire.
Whatever would Fayette County do without Mama's House of Fine Poultry? Moreover, what was Bourine to do for a Thanksgiving Turkey dinner? Aunt Florene would have to get a tad more creative this year. Maybe it was time for a new tradition.
Wonder how hard it would be to smoosh Spam into a turkey-shaped jello mold?
Yep, Bourine Geddes knew it was gonna be wunna those days.