I hope everyone forgives my self indulgence in relating these stories My great great grandparents came from a place where it was tradition to lay straw in your home on Christmas Eve and bring the animals in from the barn, in honor of the animals present at Jesus' birth. I'm guessing this traumatized my great grandmother in some way, probably because it was the female children who were made to clean up any mess left by this tradition. At any rate, she vowed no animal would set foot inside when she had her own home. My great grandmother was a petite lady, who loved pink and lace and everything dainty. I remember she always smelled like soap and roses, and her house was kept unbelievably spotless. Any dust or dirt in her house was dealt with immediately and severely. She hated the country and got out of it as soon as she could. It was a surprise when she married my great grandfather, who was all country and dirt and smelled of chewing tobacco and wind. Of course, they lived in the city via my great grandmother's wishes, but luckily for my great grandfather he made money in oil and quickly bought thousands of acres of ranch land which he'd work, and my great grandmother would "vacation" with him at the ranch house every now and then. He'd come clumping into the house, all sweat and dust from working cattle, tracking mud and driving my great grandmother into a frenzy of cleaning. One year it snowed on the ranch (an odd thing for that part of Texas). My great grandmother was staying there at the time. My great grandfather kept pacing back and forth, staring out the window at the hen coop. Something was on his mind, and giving him a great deal of trouble. They went to bed, and later that night my great grandmother was wakened briefly by my great grandfather stealing silently out of the room. Figuring he knew his own business, she went back to sleep. The next morning there was still snow on the ground, and quite alot of it. My great grandmother got up and went down the stairs to prepare breakfast . . . and stopped. Perched on her rocking chair, nesting on the couch, pecking at the floor, pooping on the table, roaming freely throughout the downstairs rooms . . . the entire population of the hen house had moved in, and my great grandmother could cuss like a pro. At the first screeched swear my great grandfather burst in from doing outside chores, barring the way so she couldn't hurl the chicken in her arms as far out as she could. The previous night he'd been so worried about his hens getting too cold, he'd gone out and moved all of them inside. While my great grandmother was a saint, her temper was volatile, and several dishes were smashed against the wall that day. Despite threats, curses, and possibly a hex or two, My great grandfather got his way, and for several days the hens lived indoors with an irate woman while the snow melted. My great grandfather was happy as could be, sitting amongst his hens in the parlor whilst he read his books, absentmindedly ruffling the feathers of the hen beside him. I can't even imagine the mess she must have been faced with when it was all over. When relating this story, my great grandmother never failed to mention the relish with which she stewed and ate those hens once they quit laying. She said no chickens ever tasted better.