Many years ago, when I was an innocent lad of six years, the telephone company came along putting up wire so we country folks could have a telephone if we desired. Of course, my Mother put in for one and it was delivered and hooked up. In the process, the telephone workers left behind some wire like my brother and I had never seen. It had plastic on it and one could tie a knot in it with ease. It wasn’t like the only other wire we had ever seen up until that time…haywire.
Naturally my older brother, age 10, the troublemaker, figured out how to make a noose with it, slip knot and all. I wondered what he was doing going into the chicken coop at dark that day but I was soon to find out because it was my job to gather the eggs each morning before the school bus ran.
The next morning I was doing my egg gathering and looked inside the chicken coop to see a fine Dominecker hen hanging with a noose around her neck and the other end tied to the roost pole. Unfortunately for innocent little me, I picked up a stick and was poking the bird and making it go around in circles when Momma came up. Lord Jesus, that woman snatched a limb off a mulberry tree and commenced to whipping the top layer of skin off me from the neck down. I tried to protest my innocence but she would have none of it as she began working on the second layer of skin. Thank God, she finally gave out just before I lapsed into unconsciousness. I knew better than to say anything at this point because it would have only invited her wrath again.
I snubbed for an hour and when you get a whipping like this, you remember it, and if you ever do again what you did to get a whipping like this in the first place, you make dang sure you are slick about it and don’t get caught. Of course this time I was totally innocent.
Three days later, we were coming home on the bus and I had my head out the window. As we pulled up at our house I saw Momma standing by the road and waiting for us, whip in hand, and there was a dead chicken on the front porch with its telephone wire wrapped neck plainly visible. I started squalling. The bus door opened and my brother, the noose maker, snickered and pushed me into her waiting arms, him thinking I was going to get it again. She threw me aside, reached for him, snatched him off that bus and Good Lord Jesus, she did wade in on that gentleman with that mulberry switch. He whirled and rolled like a worm on a hot griddle but she did not let up.
I heard her say, “How dare you let me whip your little brother for something you did!”
When I heard this, I stopped crying and started cheering her on, “Beat him some more, Momma. Beat him some more.”
At this she whirled and gave me that look that let me know I had said enough. I ran and hid under the house.
Now, some sixty years later, every time I see plastic coated wire I think of this incident but I don’t remember the pain I suffered. I think of the look on the noose maker’s face when Momma snatched him off the bottom step of that bus. It was the most surprised, wide-eyed, guiltiest, I have been caught and am about to be killed look, you can imagine.
Mr. Noose Fixer is retired now and lives in Newnan. He did well in life. I’ll bet he never slipped another noose around a going to roost chicken, though.