Oscar’s story is part of an ongoing collaboration between Love What Matters and StoryWorth, an online service that makes writing your loved one’s memoir (or your own) as easy as writing an email. Click here to learn more about StoryWorth and begin capturing your loved one’s lifetime of memories to cherish forever.
Were you well-behaved or badly behaved as a child?
“For a boy from Harlan Co, Kentucky, I was just average. I was well-behaved and kept to myself until I had a reason not to.
I’d do about anything for a dollar. When I was in school at Baxter Elementary I had a paper route with about 30 customers. The papers were dropped off at the bridge across the Cumberland River which I passed every day when I got out of school. I’d pick them up and deliver them on the way home. I had about a mile to go between there and home, which was high up on Sookie Ridge.
One of my customers had a really bad-tempered Rhode Island Red rooster. He’d attack me every day and peck and claw at my legs. I’d fight him off but after a few months of delivering papers, the rooster was decidedly ahead and I was starting to get angry.
One day he came charging at me and I decided I’d had enough. I reached down, grabbed him by the neck and didn’t let go until he was dead. Then I lay my customer’s paper on the rock wall at the edge of the yard and lay the dead rooster next to it so they could at least cook it up. (In Harlan County in the 1950s you could do that without PETA coming down on you. We ate what we could raise or shoot or we didn’t eat.)
By the time I got home, my Dad was in from the coal mines. Soon enough, here came my customer up the road and had a talk with Dad. Dad called me into the room with them and said, ‘Son, did you kill their rooster?’
I said, ‘Yes, I did.’
Dad said, ‘Why?’
I didn’t say a word, just lifted up my pant legs and showed them the scratches and scabs and scars.
Dad looked at my customer and said, ‘I think you better go home and cook your rooster.’
Didn’t get a whoopin’ for that. Funny thing is, they stayed customers of mine after that. I think they knew the rooster had it coming.”
This article was created in partnership with StoryWorth and contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.
Read more from Oscar:
‘Yeah, let’s do it.’ We scrambled up the fire escape. ‘Hey, get back down here!’ It was cops yelling. ‘You reckon they’re gonna kill us?’: Man recalls becoming friends with country singer, Marty Robbins, thanks to StoryWorth
Do you know someone who could benefit from reading this? SHARE this story on Facebook with family and friends.