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Minonk Talk introduces Tales from the Heartland which is a series of letters written by Virginia McBride to her family. Mrs. McBride writes about her life experiences in a unique and refreshing manner. We are grateful that she has given us permission to publish her letters.

Chicken feet are copacetic

I had a nice experience the other day and I must share it with you. I should have labeled it as a rare experience. I followed a motorcyclist, there were no loud explosions of acceleration and no mad spurts of speed. That was nice. Then he came to his turnoff and he hand signaled. His elbow produced a 45 degree angle, he was turning right. It's been years since I've seen hand signals.

Does anyone remember when directionals become standard equipment for an auto? No longer did the driver have to roll down his window, despite sleet, rain or snow, in order to signal the car behind him that he was turning the corner right or left or stopping. If you were turning Right your arm at an angle upward signaled the fact, a Left turn your arm aimed downward, a Stop, straight out. In today's traffic one could lose an arm a day! Poor people in the back seat would be visited by a gust of wind plus precipitation, hairdos were safe, we wore hats, caps and scarves.

Thanks Monica- my dear niece from Phoenix, Az. Last month I included a page out of a book the children put together after we moved. Last month's page was written by Anthony and one of his ‘memories' was of ‘chicken feet'! Oh I know- you're yucking and gagging at the thought of anyone eating chicken feet. I've learned to not admit the fact too often- it turns people off. I've changed my mind, I talked to Monica and she said she and her husband were in a fancy Chinese Restaurant and they served chicken feet. So now that I've learned that it's fancy food I can talk about it. We ate chicken feet. When I'd clean chickens I'd scald and clean the feet too. The skin would peel off as slick as a whistle. They'd be boiled. The broth was rich and delicious. They weren't meaty, gooey and gristley and could be pickled. Are you done gasping? My Grandma used the odd parts of fowl, she lived to be 96.

I still feel guilty about the 100 feet a friend once brought over for us. Here she comes with a big pail of chicken feet completely overcome with rigor mortis. The thought was generous- no one ever told what happened to those dead feet.

Words are interesting aren't they? I read as much as I can spare time for, I love crossword puzzles. I would think by now I would have run up against most of the English words in circulation. Not so- I bumped into ‘copacetic'. I could not figure it out, I have 3-4 Dictionaries, some old, one new. The old one said co-pa-cet-ic- see copasetic- there's no copasetic in the book.. I discussed this with friends. I know what it means said a friend, ‘it means everything's fine, rosy, it's jake'! It fit in the Xword puzzle but it's a new one to me. The friend also called the library and confirmed the definition. Then there's ‘bifurcated', a brand new one to look up, it's in the old dictionary. Bi-fur-cat-ed -to divide into two branches or stems- adj. forked. I really wonder if the author of the sentence, "The Golden Bridge bifurcated the waters", had the same dictionary as I have? Between you and me it sounds like a nasty word. I now know 2 new words! The friend said she learned the first word in school, I guess Howard #7 was behind times??

Virginia McBride
Elma, Iowa