The Tragic Tale of Charlie and Blackie

Charlie and Blackie were Roosters we had when I was I child.  I need to start this story with Charlie and how he came to join our family and then I will introduce you to Blackie.

I had wonderful teachers growing up, and all of them were my favorites for a variety of reasons.  In fourth gradechick-in-hand-jpg my teacher that year was Mrs. Dean.  She had a plan for encouraging her students that I had not seen before.  In her class she had a little general store that she kept stocked with all kinds of trinkets that we could use – rulers, pencils, paper, little toys, some candies, and lots of other things.  During the week she gave us tickets for good behavior, good grades, and a few other things that we could use on Friday when the store was opened.  In the spring of that year one of the boys in my class (strangely enough his first name was Dean) brought some baby chicks to school and asked if they could be sold in the store.  For some reason my teacher said yes.  So those chick were sold for 4 tickets each.

I wanted one of those chick to take home.  So I was probably first in line to get one.  They all looked alike so everyone thought that they were all hens.  I couldn’t wait to get my chick home so it could grow up and I could have my very own eggs.  I never thought about how I was going to get the little bird home, I road a bus.  I think we finally put it in a Styrofoam cup so it wouldn’t get hurt on that long bus ride.  When I got to the bus doors, I looked up at Mr. Frank while holding that little bird and all he did was smile at me.  I wonder how many strange animals he had on his bus over the years when he didn’t even blink an eye at one more.  Or maybe it was the pleading look in my eyes and the big please grin on my face that made him say okay just this once.

When I got home I was so excited to have my very own chicken, and I didn’t want to put a baby that small outside without protection, so from somewhere someone found a bird cage.  I gave my little chick a name “Charlie” and put her in that cage to raise her.   Imagbirdcage1a_render.jpg05a33a96-6b82-4310-8881-9a49b64e0b55Largeine my surprise and I am sure that of my family too when that little hen suddenly started looking like a rooster.  I was devastated that I wasn’t going to get my very own eggs.  But that little rooster was so spoiled.  He got to live in a house with lots of people and was held and treated like one of the family.  I am sure that he would have continued living in our home if he had not out grown that bird cage.  There were lots of verbal hints from various family members that Charlie was old enough now should probably become an outside bird, but that choice was entirely left up to me.  There were two very important details that finally made me choose to put him outside.  One – getting woken up early one too many times with a rooster crowing right inside the house.  Two – he got so big  that the only way to take him out of the cage was to take the bottom off.  That poor bird was probably extremely happy to go outside and have some freedom.

Now enters Blackie.  I don’t know where Blackie came from, but where ever it was it must have been a doozie.  That was one mean bird, he was fully grown and still had his spurs.  He seemed to take an immediate dislike to all three of us girls.  chicken_cockrels_22_-137924So that made going out and feeding the animal one big adventure.  We never knew where that bird was hiding or how long it would take him once we left our back door to attack us.  Most of the time we were able to make it to the feed shed to fill up the buckets.  But that rattling of the feed must have woken him up from where ever he as and he would be right there behind us strutting and ruffling his wings ready to attack.

Blackie was a bad influence on Charlie.  For a while when I would go out to feed I was able to pick Charlie up and he would ride around on my shoulder as I fed the animals.  But that changed very quickly with Blackie’s influence and Charlie started attacking us too.  Now we had two roosters that liked to play games with our legs, coming out of now where to scratch and claw us.  So we found a really big stick that we carried with us at all times when we were feeding.  We always put that stick by our back door and had it in the ready for when it was our turn to feed the animals.  And we always told our step-dad how mean that bird was.  But that bird knew where his bread was buttered on.  Hefighting roosters never attacked us when our step-dad was with us.  Neither one of them did.  After a while I guess he (my step-dad) just thought we were lying so one night he threw that stick away.  It just happened to be during the week when I was feeding the animals so imagine my surprise and dismay when I reached out the door for the stick and it wasn’t there.  I asked and was told we didn’t need it and to just go out and do my chores like I was told.

So I did.  I sucked it up and went out and started getting the feed buckets ready.  When I turned around and saw two very angry birds I did what came naturally to me.  I dropped the grain buckets, jumped on the water tank which was the highest thing around, and screamed my fool head off at the very top of my lungs.   My step-dad came running out of the house with his gun thinking I had seen a snake.  And for the first time (that I know of) saw those roosters attacking me.  They saw him and started strutting way like nothing was going on.  While I continuechicken dumplingsd to scream “See, See, they really do attack us.  Now I want my stick back!!!”.  He told me there was no need for the stick.  Guess what we had for dinner that night.  Home made Chicken and Dumplings.  We could tell which chicken was which even when eating them.  Charlie was younger so he was really tender and very good.  That mean old bird Blackie was just as bad when he was cooked.  He was tough and stringy and way past his prime.

Despite all the trouble he was at the end of his life I still have very fond memories of Charlie.  He was a good bird and if I were once again in fourth grade I would probably raise him the same way.   I would just find a way to some how stop my step-dad from bringing Blackie home.  Charlie deserved to live a long and happy life with all the hens.

Somewhere in one of my photo albums I have a photo of me sitting on our couch holding Charlie when he was a baby.  I searched through them all and for some reason could not find it.  So I would like to thank the contributors listed below for the photos they have shared on the web.

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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. QuinnCreative
    Feb 14, 2014 @ 13:46:25

    What a wonderful memory from childhood. Roosters can be very aggressive, especially to a short child!



    • CharleneMcD
      Feb 14, 2014 @ 13:57:21

      Tell me about it, to be best of my recollection Charlie and Blackie were the only two we had that were so aggressive. Before Blackie and after Blackie, none of the other roosters ever acted that way.



  2. livingwithshadows
    Feb 12, 2014 @ 06:23:15

    aww that mean ole blackie was a bad influnence on charlie! i’m sure he’d have stayed sweet otherwise and avoided the cook pot!



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