The Cheese Stick

Reader Contribution by Jacqueline Wilt, R.N. and C.E.M.T.
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Growing up, we had a flock of chickens on our farm. They supplied us with fresh eggs and meat. I loved those chickens. Except one. His name was Cheese. He was a huge white Leghorn rooster. He hated me, and I swear he had 6-inch-long spurs on his long yellow legs. The feeling was mutual.

As a little girl, one of my chores was to gather the eggs. I would go into the henhouse and stand on tippy-toe to reach up into the long row of nesting boxes to get the eggs. All the while I had to look over my shoulder with increasing frequency as Cheese circled and sized me up. As soon as he thought my guard was sufficiently down, he would charge me! Flapping wings, a screeching crow, and claws were all a blur as I would scream and run out of the henhouse. After swallowing my heart back down into my chest, the next several minutes were spent watching to see if the devil-spawn would exit the henhouse so I could sneak back in to finish my chore. It was an on-going battle.

Cheese looked like this:


But I felt like he looked like THIS:


Dad took pity on me. He made me a weapon. Using his pocket knife, he whittled the end of a long thick stick to a dull point. The stick was pretty substantial, and it was difficult to hold it along with my basket for eggs while standing tippy-toe to reach the nest boxes. The idea was to hold the point of the stick out and use it to ward off any attacks. It was dubbed the “Cheese Stick.”  I, however, took the Cheese Stick to another level of defense.

It was a typical egg-gathering scenario. Me, trying to be as quiet as possible, entering the henhouse so as not to give away my position. Cheese was stationed outside the henhouse chicken door, lying in wait. I had my Cheese Stick at the ready, but the rooster stayed outside. I gathered one nest and whipped around, Cheese Stick at the ready. Nothing. I slowly turned around and snatched two more eggs from the next nest and whipped around again. Nothing. Maybe Cheese would leave me alone. Maybe he saw the Cheese Stick and decided not to bother me anymore. I sighed in relief. I turned and happily began to gather the rest of the eggs.

That’s when it happened. Cheese tossed aside the previous formal dance of stalking and just charged in like a screeching psychotic tiger! I was taken by surprise. Instead of whipping around and pointing the Cheese Stick at Cheese to ward him off, I dropped my eggs, reared back with that stick and WHOP! I swung the Cheese Stick like a Louisville Slugger and clobbered Cheese upside the head! He squawked and flopped and rolled around on the floor, kicking up dust and feathers.

Terrified, I dropped the stick and ran out of the henhouse. I sprinted to the house, tears streaming down my face, screaming, “I KILLED CHEESE! I KILLED CHEESE!”

My mom, unable to discern what I was unintelligibly babbling about, followed me to the henhouse. Sobbing, I watched from behind her as she opened the door. Cheese was not there. We looked outside, and there he was, strutting amongst his girls, looking like nothing ever happened. His feathers were ruffled and out of place, but he looked fine otherwise.

He never bothered me again.

Anyone else have mean rooster stories? 

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