Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Chicken's Tail

When I was growing up, our family went to church most Sundays knowing dinner was still running around in the chicken pen.
            Whether we got out at noon or 1 o’clock, the family tackled the necessary chores to put dinner on the table. Dad or one of my brothers caught the chickens. Mom put water on to boil and went to the cellar for vegetables and fruit.  My older sisters, four of them until they started getting married, peeled potatoes and helped prepare other side dishes. Dad or a brother killed the fryers, dunked them in boiling water, plucked them, and over an open flame burned off pinfeathers.
          Mom washed and cut up the chickens, immersed them in flour, salt and pepper, and slithered the pieces into the frying pan.  The aroma filled the comfortable two-story house.
          As the youngest, I helped set the table and fill the glasses.
            Often friends, relatives, preachers or missionaries joined the 10 of us for dinner. After someone prayed, Mom glanced around at each child and said, “FHB.” Translation: “Family Hold Back. Don’t take all the food before our guests have some.”
            Since I was the youngest, I usually got a meaty “wishbone” which you don’t see when you buy a cut-up chicken today. Mom always ate the chicken’s tailpiece.
           “I like it,” she’d say with a smile.
            It was a bony piece, and none of us liked the idea of eating the “last piece over the fence.”
            Years later, after I became a mother, I understood why Mom loved the tailpiece. It was because she loved us and wanted us to have the meatier parts.
            Sacrifice is just part of love.  Jesus gave us that example when he sacrificed Heaven and came to earth to suffer and die so that we could have eternal life.  “We love Him because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19).
            I’ve always been a little like the chicken’s tail piece—last in many ways, and not the most beautiful and desirable.  But Somebody loves me anyway.