Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Appalachian Word of the Week -- MADDER THAN A WET HEN

Have you ever met a wet hen?

How about a hen that's wet because you just dunked into a bucket of cold water?

If you have, then you know exactly how mad a wet hen can be.

For those of you who have never experienced a wet hen, you may be wondering why in the world someone would torture a hen by dunking her into cold water. Obviously, she doesn't like it.

There is a reason. Unfortunately, it doesn't always work the way intended.

Brooding hen
Sometimes a hen gets it set in her mind that she needs to sit on her eggs until they hatch. That's called brooding and she is considered broody. Whether it's hormones or some automatic response that kicks in to the bird's tiny brain, it is a problem.

It may be a problem because there's no rooster and the eggs are not fertile -- making her effort to hatch the eggs futile.

Another problem is that she gets really testy when she's broody. Even with the hens who would normally lay eggs in the coop with her. Breakfast can get a bit lean when the hens don't lay their quota.

When the chicken keeper realizes the hen won't come out of the broodiness on her own, a dunking in cold water may be in order to shock her out of her broodiness. Some say it is to cool off the skin where she was sitting on the eggs and reverse the compulsion to keep the eggs warm.

Sometimes this works. Sometimes it doesn't.

Either way, it definitely produces the MADDER THAN A WET HEN response.

The hen will probably go nuts squawking, kicking, pecking, and destroying the nearest human being around.

Have you heard the term "flogging?" Well, a wet hen can be like flogging on steroids.

My mom had a hen that became broody. She was determined to break her from her broodiness and make life in the backyard pleasant again. Mom dragged a washtub into the yard and filled it up with water. Creeping up to the nesting site, my petite mother grabbed the hen between her hands and carried her to the tub of water.

As soon as the hen's feet hit that water, she went into MAD HEN mode. Mom held on tight and was nearly as wet as the hen as she was dragged behind the chicken. I thought they might both take flight. Finally, the hen wrestled herself out of Mom's grasp and started flogging her. I've never heard a chicken make so much racket. The rest of the chickens scattered and left Mom to fend for herself.

Okay, so I left her to fend for herself, too. I hid inside the house behind a screen door. Mom finally made it to the house and got inside the door, doing a bit of kicking and flogging herself to keep the hen outside.

Watch out for wet hens that remember you
Thankfully, I've never seen anyone MADDER THAN THAT WET HEN. But I've seen a few rivals. Mad humans tend to make a crowd scatter for safety, too.

For your information -- that hen never forgot what Mom did to her that day. They may have a brain the size of a pea, but that pea remembers. Every time Mom stepped into the backyard, here she came, squawking and flogging.

Mom had the last laugh, though. The hen made a mighty fine Sunday dinner.

Have you ever known anyone who was MADDER THAN A WET HEN? Have you been MADDER THAN A WET HEN yourself? I'd love to hear your stories.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Appalachian Word of the Week -- ACTIN' UGLY

How many times have you been accused of ACTIN' UGLY? Hopefully, you were only guilty of ACTIN' UGLY when you were a kid -- not last week.

For those of you who have no clue what I'm talking about, mothers, especially, pointed out those occasions of ACTIN' UGLY. Sometimes they employed a pinch or a smack. You were really in trouble, though, if you were ordered to fetch a switch from the bush outside.

ACTIN' UGLY usually involves behavior similar to a spoiled brat. Whining, crying, screwing up your face, hitting someone close-by, throwing things, stomping your feet, refusing to follow commands from those in authority, and making a lot of noise.

A lot of the time, such behavior is influenced by hunger, being over-tired, or being fed up with someone else's behavior. Of course, ACTIN' UGLY can be a direct effect of being spoiled rotten. A boy who's ACTIN' UGLY was often called a "rotter."ACTIN' UGLY is the normal behavior of someone with a mean streak in them. We've all known a few of those for whom ACTIN' UGLY is a way of life. For others, it visits us rarely and is regretted when the instigating factor is resolved. Or we experience the stings from the tip of a switch.

Actin' ugly or a rotter?
In this age, switches are rarely used, so ACTIN' UGLY is becoming a way of life for way too many people -- youth and adults. One of the worst offenses is bullying. The unfortunate victims of UGLY behavior suffer severely. Some develop a lack of self-confidence or self-worth, and some bear resentment or even hatred toward anyone who ACTS UGLY to them.

ACTIN' UGLY today can be quieter than in our youth. One of the main methods is through social media. I have even experienced people ACTIN' UGLY with their comments about my beloved Appalachian heritage on these blog posts.

People also use social media to blast their hatred to anyone who thinks differently than they do. Religion, sports, politics, the value of kale on the planet. They also use social media to belittle and intimidate those who are different from them.

We must realize, however, that the most common way people are ACTIN' UGLY is their silence as they hold a cell phone up between us as a wall to prevent person-to-person communication. I see it often when I eat out. Several people sit at a table staring at their cell phones instead of getting to know each other and enjoy talking and laughing. It's an insult. We should care more about our friends and family than a screen on a phone.

Texting to some else instead of talking to each other

The most dangerous way to ACT UGLY is texting while you drive. Here in Georgia, it is now illegal to have your phone in your hand while driving. It hasn't stopped the people from still ACTIN' UGLY and take everyone's lives at risk just so they can text when they should be watching where they're going. A new law hasn't stopped the texting and driving at all. I continue to see it as I drive around town.

Certainly increases my prayer life.

So, have you been ACTIN' UGLY? Or have you been the victim of someone ACTIN' UGLY?

I'm interested in hearing your stories. Just don't name names.

And make sure you don't ACT UGLY with me because I stepped on your UGLY toes!

Be kind to your friends and family. And potential friends. Don't be ACTIN' UGLY. Go take a nap. Or share a bowl of ice cream. Relationships are important.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Appalachian Word of the Week -- YONDER

People are always asking how far YONDER is.

Unfortunately, YONDER is one of those terms that's a might hard to specify. The meaning varies according to how you use it.

If you're sitting on the couch and you want to change channels on the TV, but you don't have a remote, YONDER might only be few feet from you.

He lives over YONDER.
If you're standing on the mountaintop, looking out at the smoky blue mountains in the background, and you know your cousin Jim Bob lives on the third mountain over, then Jim Bob lives over YONDER.

If you sit at your desk to get some work done and realize you forgot to bring your cup of coffee from the kitchen, YONDER is way in the kitchen and you hope there's somebody else in the house to run and fetch it for you.

YONDER, whether it's a long distance or a short one, means the distance between you and the object you desire is further than you want it to be. It also intimates that anything past your fingers is too far over YONDER and somebody besides you needs to hop up and retrieve it for you.

Go over YONDER and change the channel.
YONDER can also signify when something is too far away for you to even consider going to it or retrieving it. For some lazy bums, that can be two inches past their noses.

I'm sure we all have heard the old hymn, "When the Roll is Called Up YONDER." Heaven is about the furthest distance we can imagine. Even further than the stars and planets that we can't see without a high-powered telescope.

Right now I'd like to grab my sweater because the air conditioning is blowing on me and making chill bumps pop out on my arms--but it's over YONDER on my Lazy Boy and I'd have to stop typing, get up, and walk over YONDER to get it. I might decide to shiver instead of going after my sweater.

Go over YONDER and get my phone.
I seem to think YONDER refers to the things we don't want to bother to get ourselves. I remember many a time when my mom directed me to go over YONDER or in YONDER and get something for her.

So, how far is YONDER? YONDER is any distance you can't reach by stretching out your hand to touch it.

What's your definition of YONDER?

I'd love to hear what you have to say.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Appalachian Word of the Week -- MOONPIE

As I wandered the aisles of the grocery store the other day, I came across one of my favorite childhood treats --  MOONPIE. I had to have one. Alas, they come in boxes now. I got them anyway. It took all my strength not to scarf down more than one each day. 

Of course, that is probably because, just like everything else from our childhood, they are much smaller now. At least these are much smaller. They're called minis and have only 110 calories. The box also stated that they are made of "real sugar." Nothing artificial in my MOONPIE.

RC Cola
As I slowly nibbled on my MOONPIE, savoring every bite and remembering the good old days, I had a hankering for what usually accompanied a MOONPIE.

Yep, RC Cola and a bag of peanuts. Now for you folks who have never enjoyed an RC and peanuts, I'll explain. You open a small bag of salted peanuts (cost 5 cents back then) and pour them into the bottle of RC (a tall skinny glass bottle). It bubbled a bit and then you swigged on it until the peanuts mixed with the RC and you got a peanut with your swig.

Peanuts for the RC Cola
Ah, yes! A bite of MOONPIE, a swig of RC and peanuts. That was the high life.

Several years ago, my family moved to Chattanooga, Tennessee. That's when I discovered the MOONPIE was created there. The MOONPIE bakery is still creating those luscious cookies, filled with marshmallow, and dipped in chocolate. They even have a MOONPIE store! 

Did you grow up eating MOONPIE? Did you drink RC with peanuts?

Do you eat MOONPIE today?

I'd love to hear about your memories.