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The Man With a "Four Legged" Chicken
Living in the mountains of Northeast Georgia all my life has given me privileges most people don't get to experience. Streams filled with trout and beautiful natural landscapes provided courtesy of the Southern most point of the Appalachian Mountains, coupled with the view of the Blue Ridge Mountains, make this part of the state a focal point for visitors. People come here in droves in the spring and fall just to get a glimpse of the breathtaking scenery and take in a little of the local culture.
Years ago, I cooked and managed a 24 hour restaurant which gave me privilege to meet many of these travelers from all walks of life. Many of these travelers would always become repeat customers and tell me of their travels as I prepared their meal if the store wasn't too busy. They would set at the counter just to watch me prepare their meal as a form of entertainment, because at the time, I was one of the fastest cooks around and people were amazed when I prepared their meal and many times they commented their plate looked better than the picture on the menu.
As a short order cook working the morning shift, I also became familiar with several of the local builders that would come in around 5am to have coffee and breakfast while conducting business and scheduling their work with one another. Carpenters, electricians, plumbers, and roofers would all keep each other in the loop on projects, but at the same time, there were a lot of tall tails flying around.
It was a Monday morning in the spring and the mood was somber... I suppose it could be what I call,"Spring Fever", because the trout streams were full, and many of these regulars were avid fishermen that would rather be trout fishing than having to go back to work on a Monday morning. Everyone seemed to be lost in their thoughts as they sipped their coffee and smoked their cigarettes. Ford was an older gentleman and the plumber of the group, and his words of wisdom always carried a lot of weight with the rest of the men because he never spoke too often, and when he did everyone would listen just to see what he had to say.
As Ford leaned forward to crush out a cigarette, he began to speak and immediately gained everyone's attention...
"You know, I went fishing up on Warwoman this weekend and saw something I ain't never seen before in my life... I was just driving along mindin' my own business... I guess I was doin' about 40 at the time, and I caught a glimpse of something in the rear view mirror... Next thing I know, I looked up and there was a four legged chicken passed me !!!"
As everyone chuckled, someone asked,"Are you serious !?!"
"Yep," Ford replied. " I thought my eyes was playin' tricks on me, so I speeded up a bit to catch up with it, and sure enough, it was a four legged chicken running 50 miles per hour !!!"
This really got everyone to laughing because they knew it was a "Tall Tale"... As the laughter died down he continued.
"Kind of made me mad 'cause he passed me, so I passed him back... Next thing I know, I'm running about 55 and the little bastard passed me again ! I wasn't going to stand for that so I just about caught up with him again and was just getting ready to pass when he veered off down this dirt road kickin' up dust to beat the band ! So I locked her down and got in behind him, but that was the last I seen of him... I followed the road on down a ways 'till I came up on this old farm house. There was an old man out there splitting some firewood, so I stopped and asked him if he had seen any four legged chickens running around there."
The old man put down his axe and pulled a handkerchief from his overalls to wipe the sweat away as he began to speak, "Yep... That's the way I raise 'em."
Ford laughed and and asked, "Now ... what in the world ever gave you the idea to do something like that ?"
The farmer replied," Well, I like legs and my wife likes legs... My son likes legs and my daughter likes legs... So I decided to start raising four legged chickens so we could all get a leg when we cooked one."
Ford replied, "You know... That's one of the smartest things I've ever heard of... How does it taste?"
"I don't know... I ain't never caught one...".
I personally don't know where this story originated, but I do know that North Georgia is the chicken capitol of the world, and the chicken industry has created countless jobs for the region. Farmers, processing plant workers, feed mill workers, truck drivers, construction workers... The list goes on and on, and the money made from these jobs keep all the local businesses very profitable. The "Chicken Industry" is so large and far spread in North Georgia, you would be hard pressed to find a family in the area that doesn't have at least one member that in some way or another contributes to the "Chicken Industry", or a job derived from its profits.
Our local chicken industry is owned and operated by Fieldale Farms, and since it's beginning there have been other chicken producers in the area that mimic their success and have become successful in their own right, but none compare to the staggering amount of revenue Fieldale has contributed to the regions success, so it's really no wonder that from time to time you will hear a good "Chicken Joke". Everyone in the area can relate to chickens because they have become such an important part of everyone's lives.
Fieldale farms processes and packages their chickens for many national brands that I won't mention here, but the next time you are in the grocery store and looking at chicken... Remember that even though the labels on the package are different brands, 70% are processed and packaged at the same plant from the same chicken, all raised on the same farms. Various companies distribute for Fieldale Farms, but the chicken is basically the same... The only real difference is the price you are willing to pay. Just because something is more expensive doesn't necessarily mean its a better product, it just means the distributor's reputation and national ad campaigns costs more, and you as the consumer have to pay for it.