It gets hot in Prescott, Ark. It was real hot the afternoon that my Aunt Mary Ethel gave my cousin Riley and me the job of “robbing” a turkey nest, then taking the eggs down the road and throwing them out in the pasture. She told us the eggs were not fertilized, and that the hen, not knowing of this situation, would “sit herself to death trying to hatch ‘em.” So Riley and I formulated a plan. Riley was a year or so older than me. I guess he was about 11. Anyway, we were both new at this kind of work.
The nest was in a brushy thicket right next to a wooden fence at the edge of the pasture. Riley climbed on the fence with a long stick, and I took my place on my hands and knees at the bottom. Riley would reach down through the brush with the stick and poke the hen, which would jump up. With each poke and subsequent jumping-up of the hen, I’d reach under the fence, grab an egg and put it in a shoebox. We were kind of like an egg-snatching machine. In a matter of minutes we had successfully removed all the eggs from the nest, and that part of the job was complete. Now it was time for phase two.
Riley and I took the eggs down that hot, red-gravel road some 50 yards or so. Riley took the first egg out of the box and prepared to launch it into the pasture. I told him we should break the first egg very gently, just in case Aunt Mary Ethel was mistaken and there really was a baby turkey inside that egg. He walked up to a fence post, held the egg an inch or so away from the top of the post, then looked back at me and said, “Here….you do it. I’ll hit it too hard.”
I took the egg, reached down and picked up a small rock from the road. Holding the egg rather close to my face, I began to gently peck on the shell. It was at that moment in time that I learned that an unfertilized egg, when exposed to excess heat for several days, will rot. I also learned that a rotten egg produces a gas, which produces internal pressure. And I learned that with only a small amount of pecking with a rock, a rotten egg will explode. There was absolutely nothing of a solid nature in that egg as it ran down my face. As I recall, the colors of the liquid were purple and green. I need not speak of the aroma.
I ran (laughing as I exhaled; gagging as I inhaled) back to the house. I spent the next hour or so scrubbing with Lava soap and dousing myself with my Uncle Carter’s “Jade East” cologne. Something about that combination made others not want to sit with me at suppertime.
I never questioned Aunt Mary Ethel’s knowledge of turkeys and their eggs again.
Life’s an adventure…….and I’m livin’ it up!