I begged. I pleaded. "Please, don't make me do it," I said. "Anything but that." I made the man a huge plate of bacon. (I hate cooking bacon.) I made him coffee. (I can't drink coffee). Then I smiled while he ate, hoping he was joking.
Hours later, darkness came. I finally finished my five thousand word quota for the day on my new Swiss Amish Christmas story. We settle in to watch American Ninja Warrior when he says, "After this goes off, we'll go cut the rooster's spurs."
My mouth drops open. He wasn't kidding. "Can't we just eat him?" (I don't eat meat.)
"It won't be so bad."
"No." I shake my head. "Get your dad to help you."
"Dad's already in bed."
"He is not!" He just got a new TV for his bedroom last weekend at a garage sale for $5. I know he's not sleeping, even though you can't see the lights on in his house across the road.
"It'll just take a minute."
My husband gets the pliers, my good pair of garden snippers, and a flimsy cardboard nailfile. (Again, mine). I tell my daughter we'll be right back, but of course she wants to come watch. We take a flashlight to the henhouse and I hold the light while he goes in and picks the rooster up by the feet off the roost. Needless to say, the rooster is not happy about being so rudely awakened, but you have to do it at night or you'll never catch him. He's been tearing up the hens pretty bad lately and my husband fears for the oldest ones.
We're not farmers. Not by any stretch of the imagination. Farmers make money with their livestock. We pay for feed every month and beg people to help relieve us from a fridge overflowing with eggs. I'm a vegetarian. One who doesn't even eat eggs or dairy, but I'm not Vegan. Vegan is some strange religion people around here are especially leery of.
I pull the pliers from my husband's pocket and hand them to him. We know how to do this because we watched two youtube videos on it before we walked out of the house.
"I need another hand," he says. "Take his other foot."
I cringe and reach for his huge, yellow foot but draw my hand back quickly before I touch it. "Do I have to?"
The Bible verse about submitting to your husband comes to mind. I whimper as I make contact with the leg this time, holding onto it firmly. "Oh, please hurry," I say in a high-pitched voice.
My husband takes hold of the spur and gently rocks it just like in the video. It slips off easily and he spends the next minute and a half examining it because he's completely fascinated.
"We're going to get eat up," I say. (I'm not getting bit by mosquitoes and haven't seen one tonight but I want him to hurry.)
He pulls the other one off and he finally takes the other leg from me and sets the rooster down gently on the nest box. Still stunned, it doesn't even try to move.
"He's just been upside down too long. He'll be fine," I say.
"Yeah, you don't want him floppin' around in the dirt anyway. He's fine. Let's go inside."
My husband doesn't let us go inside yet. There could be snakes out (we know a guy who got bit by a copperhead this summer) and we only brought one flashlight so we all have to go together. (Our yard is pitch black without it.) He watches the rooster a few more minutes until he finally lets us come back in the house.
"That was a really good idea," he says. "I never would have thought to do that."
"Youtube, Dear. It's the wave of the future." I wash my hands twice and head back to my computer, thankful once again to be getting some use out my overpriced internet package. "But next time," I call out from the bedroom, "ask your dad."