My spouse gave me a set of DVDs of “On the Road” with Charles Kuralt. These are old TV shows by CBS featuring Charles Kuralt, the fellow who started “CBS Sunday Morning.” I really love these short stories about ordinary people doing interesting and unusual things. You don’t read about these folks in the paper and most are in small towns. There are stories about a man who built large models of famous structures out of toothpicks, a fellow who fixed and loaned bikes to poor kids, a master maker of large wooden ships, an old woman who cooked everyday for the poor and anyone who wanted to come to her home for a home cooked meal, a man who made and flew kites everyday, a local bottler of ginger ale who made his own brew and ladies who made lace doilies by the lost art of tatting. There was a great story about a lady who built a library in her small town that was open 24 hours a day and people could come a go as they pleased. It was run on the honor system with no fines and she never lost a book.
One of my favorite stories was about this guy who refused to move his business of preparing chickens from live poultry right in his store. This guy had his building engulfed by large skyscrapers and was finally forced to move by the city for the purpose of widening the street. It was fun watching him prepare the chickens right there in the store so you knew you had a fresh bird. He dipped the feathered carcass into boiling water to extract the feathers then scraped the skin clean.
I liked this chicken story because I used to raise chickens when I was a kid and prepared them the same way as the fellow in Charles Kuralt’s story. We then cut up the chicken in the proper way so there was a pulley (wish) bone. The pulley bone was always the most delicious morsel of meat from the chicken and was my favorite. Now days it’s incorporated into the breast and you can’t even tell it exist. Today, the breast of chicken are much too thick and it’s hard to cook them all the way through. They now breed chickens so that they are nothing but breast. Of greatest importance is that there is nothing like fresh chicken rather than the frozen stuff. This story about the guy preparing a bird for cooking with a fresh kill right before your eyes was terrific. I think I could have been happy with a business like that but, like so many things, the modern age snuffed him out.
The Charles Kuralt stories were filmed in the 70s and early 80s. I did meet one of his characters who is a Park Ranger at a remote mission in New Mexico. That was a thrill. It’s sad to think that most of these interesting people with unique stories are now dead. I sure hope that there are folks today with similar stories. It would be great fun to travel around like Charles Kuralt in search of these folks. That would even be a better job than preparing chickens or rocking on the porch.