Chicken Little – Pastoral, Publicly Relationed, and Politically Poemed

Above: ‘Country Life at Irvington’, postmarked 1910

Golf is something I never imagined a chicken wanting to take up as an activity . . .

But when people are being told to eat 25 of you, golf might be something to take one’s mind off the probable future.

Chicken does have a certain power, though. Especially fried chicken.

I hate to admit this, brother, but there are times
When I’m eating fried chicken
When I think about nothing else but eating fried chicken,
When I utterly forget about my family, honor and country,
The various blood debts you owe me,
My past humiliations and my future crimes—
Everything, in short, but the crispy skin on my fried chicken.

But I’m not altogether evil, there are also times
When I will refuse to lick or swallow anything
That’s not generally available to mankind.

(Which is, when you think about it, absolutely nothing at all.)

And no doubt that’s why apples can cause riots,
And meat brings humiliation,
And each gasp of air
Will fill one’s lungs with gun powder and smoke.

Eating Fried Chicken by
Linh Dinh

A 1910 Picnic (With Thoughts of Cape Gooseberries?)

(Received?) your letter and wanted to answer long before this but was very busy. Will write before the pic-nic. Have you made all arrangements for that eventful day. I expect to see you then. Anna.

(Miss? Mrs.?) Harriet S. Kunkle must have stuck this postcard into a book with tape, as the back is torn in just that manner. I wonder how many years it stayed there, allowing for reminiscing of the picnic and of her friend Anna . . .

That was one hundred years ago. 1910. And the picture is of Cape Gooseberries. Also called Lantern Fruit, a relative of tomatillos, a pretty thing wrapped up in tissue paper by nature itself, dangling dancing so temptingly from its greenery-touched stems!

There are some lovely things you can make with this fruit if you happen to have it growing near you. Jams, of course – and tarts too. Here’s a story with some history of the fruit, right alongside a flavorful cake.

Somehow the way they look implies a sense of the precious, of the guarded – of treasures to be unfolded. Perhaps Anna had a similar feeling about the picnic she soon would attend, which she wrote of in such an almost-stiff manner?

Today is the start of a new year. I hope the corners peeked around in all our various ways will hold more treasures to be unwrapped than banana peels to slip upon! (And I also hope Anna’s dreams came true!)