Unless otherwise noted, the Kathryn Tucker Windham blog is written by her daughter, Dilcy Windham Hilley.
My mother grew up in Thomasville, Alabama, not far from the heart of downtown.
It was a small country town, so it wasn’t especially surprising that her family raised chickens in their backyard. Mother used to tell how their cook and Mother’s very heart, Thurza, would twist a hen’s neck like a wringer washer and prepare it for Sunday dinner. (Dinner, of course, is the meal served after breakfast and before supper. At least it used to be that way in the South before it somehow got confused with the evening meal.)
The women in Mother’s family---all much older than she---always referred to a chicken thigh as the “second joint.” I suppose it was a more genteel reference to such a private part of the anatomy, though apparently the breast was not considered soft-core.
Mother also spoke of a particularly vicious rooster that ruled their yard and would peck her bare heels if she wasn’t quick to escape him.
But one of my favorite tales my mother told was about a neighbor who dropped in uninvited fairly regularly, often when Thurza was preparing dinner. He was what Mother called a dullard, a word she reserved for only the most tedious people. After one particularly trying morning with the neighbor, Mother was in the kitchen complaining to Thurza about the dolt.
Thurza never turned from the stove as she said to Mama, “That man ain’t got sense enough to shoo the chickens.”
And that has become a favorite family phrase.
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"Some people are important to intellectuals, journalists, or politicians, but Kathryn Tucker Windham is probably the only person I know in Alabama who is important to everybody."
–Wayne Flynt, Professor Emeritus in the Department of History at Auburn University.
Ben Windham & Dilcy Windham Hilley
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