Days Gone By - stories from the past

Old Leroy made his escape in Talladega, Alabama

Leroy the Rooster

Made his escape in Talladega


Johnny Ponder

Back in the late ’50s we lived on South Street in Talladega. Momma taught school at Munford so we still went to school there most years except for a couple when we went to Graham School in Talladega.

Munford, Talladega County, Alabama

Munford map in Talladega County, Alabama

A few were on top of their coops

One day I was standing out in the front yard and I watched a chicken truck go by. It had a bunch of chickens in those small coops headed for the chicken plant. A few were out of their coops and just sitting on top of the coops. I was thinking that if those chickens knew what I knew they would be getting their feathered tails off that truck as quick as possible.

All of a sudden I saw one fly up and over on the opposite side of the truck and it must have landed in front of one of the AIDB buildings. The truck went right on and I saw that chicken walking around in one of the school’s front lawns. I ran over there and chased that chicken down and caught it.

I put him in an old rabbit hutch

I carried my new found feathered friend back to the house and put it in an old rabbit hutch we had in the back yard and dubbed her with the name of “Joan”. Joan was a girl in my class that had real white hair and my chicken was white so I thought Joan looked like her I guess.

Daddy wouldn’t let Joan stay with us so I took her out to my Grandparents house where there were other chickens. Daddy said that she would get lonely if she stayed here with us without other chickens for company. Now, I don’t know if chickens get lonely or not but that made perfect sense to me anyway.

Joan was a rooster

It turned out that ole Joan was a rooster so I changed her name to Leroy. Leroy grew up to be king of the roost around Grandpa’s farm house and soon it was evident that he was getting a little too big for his feathers.bantam roosterjpg

Leroy was flirting with disaster

One day Granny was pulling weeds out in her collard patch and ole Leroy decided she was invading his territory and he made her run out of her shoes getting back in the house. At that point I knew that ole Leroy was flirting with disaster.

Now what Leroy didn’t know was that chicken executions were a common practice around the Ponder homestead in those days. Grandpa had a hatchet, a 5 gallon bucket with a short 1×12 just for carrying out such chicken sentences.chicken running

Grandpa would chop their heads off and throw them in the bucket, I would quickly place the 1 x 12 and sit on it until the flopping ceased. Granny would be boiling water for the dressing process. I will never forget how bad those hot wet feathers smelled.

Ole Leroy ended up disappearing not long after the collard patch incident and I’ve always wondered what happened to him. My Granny’s fried yard chicken was the best I have ever eaten……Southern-Fried-Chicken-4820



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About Johnny Ponder

Johnny Ponder lives in Munford, AL. He is a retired forester after about 40 years. Needless to say, he has a keen interest in the outdoors along with old places and lifestyles. He was raised here in Talladega County and writes very short stories about life in Talladega County back in the 50s and 60s.

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  1. Debby Robinson Cowley

  2. I have eaten many who Klee by breaking the neck of said chicken. What makes it better is it free range and fresh.

  3. I loved this story! Reminds me when I was little my daddy did something similar I was always amazed at how long those chickens could move without their head!

  4. I remember ur mom. Didn’t have her but I remember her. U I remember very clearly. U were a senior I think when I was in 10th grade. Always trying to collect senior cards

  5. Sounds like a rooster we had that a visiting Uncle pestered until he started fighting anything that moved in our backyard. We had to get one to replace him, but Sunday Dinner was good.

  6. We had yard chickens in Covington County back in the 40’s & 50’s. Had to watch where you stepped. Enjoyed another of your stories this morning with my coffee.

  7. Lovely tale reminds me of my Granny Anma Graham Vann who kept chickens to sell eggs and for food. But I am most curious about the Graham School in Talledga. I cannot locate the parents of my great grandfather M. T. Graham born May 13, 1858. I know he married Lucinda Frances Wester there but where did he come from? Willing to pay for the information. Thanks.

  8. I so enjoy your postings and reading of the days I live in my memories. I cannot locate your books in the library. Are they available only thru Amazon? Thanks.

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