“He jumpt on that quicker than a chicken on a June bug!” I heard the woman say to somone on the phone as I walked passed. How interesting, I thought. She didn’t even have to think to say it. The phrase came out so quickly and easily, I knew it was a common expression for her to say though I’d never heard it before.

Now, I’ve seen chickens and I’ve seen June bugs. I’m sure I’ve seen chickens suddenly lurch forward to pick up a bug, it didn’t matter what kind, to eat it. That was so common it didn’t excite or even interest me after age five or six. What was interesting, exciting, and entertaining when I was older, was watching them eat something else, something only I brought them. As a result, they would look forward to my coming into the chicken house. In addition to their regular food and water, I brought them table scraps and, sometimes, watermelon rind. Those times, I would stay and.delight in watching them go after pieces of the rind. In fact, watching them do that was great entertainment. I learned to cut the rind into thin, about one inch wide, strips. That size made it easier for the chickens. Not to eat, but to throw into the air!

I would scatter these strip of rind on the straw-covered chickhouse floor. A few chickens would recognize them immediately and run for them. They would stab their beaks into the rind. Their grip was so fierce, and the bit of rind was so light, that when they raised their head, they would pick up the entire strip of rind. They didn’t want all that piece, they could only swallow the small bit in their beak. To break it off, they quickly learned to give their head a quick flip up – and the rind would go flying off into the air! When other chickens saw a piece flying in the air, they would rush towards it for their bite. It didn’t take long for bits of rind to be flying in the air all over the chicken house with chickens rushing to get a bit when the pieces came down! Nothing on TV was ever that entertaining!! The heat of summer was almost worth watching those chickens send all those pieces of rind into the air! I can still see that delightful sight to this day over half a century later.

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