Dear SouthernReader:

I do believe you have outdone yourself with your story Big Chicken. Although I have long known of big chicken stories, it is always impressive to see the spoken story translated to the written word. In fact, at the tender age of six I, myself was forced to lay waste to a pet Bantam rooster with a piece of pipe over just such an attitude toward other chickens, humans and dogs. You got to catch it quick or it will spread all over the barnyard. It is a sad story and one that can only be addressed with the most barbaric of measures. I guess chickens are just that way, but rebellion is always the same. The hook and the sword are the only sure cure.

I also know about the Methodist and camp meetings. Every September the town I grew up in does just that--moves out to the wooden tents for a week of revival and reveille.

Anything you want you can get, from religion in front of the a drink or a toss of the dice (or a toss of self) behind the tents.

Finally...what can be said about the art of biscuits, save, it is an art. Now how about some fresh butter on those biscuits and little of that crab apple jelly...ain't but one thing better...and I haven't seen her in years.

Steve Batson
Travelers Rest, SC

Dear SouthernReader:

Thanks for steering me to your magazine. I just read Big Chicken and was quite entertained. Made me think of some chicken stories from my past. My family used to buy little colored Easter chickens at Sanderson's in Donelson (an eastern suburb of Nashville), usually four, one for each child. Then after Easter we would let them grow up in our back yard until my Dad would eventually wring their necks so my mom could fry 'em up for Sunday lunch. Donelson zoning was a tad loose. We had hens and roosters, and I was always amused to see the grown roosters, always white, but tinged on the feather edges with the Easter colors of purple or pink or lime green or orange. Did they look strange! And those roosters were very aggressive. They took no crap from anybody or anything. Especially not from the dogs. Just like the Big Chicken.

Again, thanks for the story and for stirring up the memory banks. Keep me on your email list. I'm already a fan.

Bob Goodwin
Fairway, KS

Dear SouthernReader:

I enjoyed the first edition of SouthernReader but wonder how much was fiction and how much was not. I can certainly relate to the Big Chicken 'cause Mom and Dad had an old rooster that used to chase my sister and me, and Mom had to take the broom to fight it off while she walked us to the outhouse. I was pregnant with my daughter, Debby at the time, and I was really afraid of the old bird. He got so bad that we finally had him with dumplings one Sunday for dinner.

And, your camp meeting story (Loosening the Bible Belt) reminded me of when we lived in California. Every six weeks or so we would visit Yosemite National Park, and one summer we had our own “camp meeting” in the park with people from all over the country.

As for biscuits (The Rising Popularity of Biscuits), they can’t be beat, though I never could make them like my mom, grandmother and aunts. Even so, there’s nothing better than a biscuit with a thick slice of tomato on it or some butter and homemade peach preserves or a hunk of country ham, or just sopping some brown gravy or sorghum molasses with one.

Keep up the good work!

Fran Trice
Clarksville, TN

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