WHEN SOMEONE appears like they are perplexed and not sure which way to go we might ask them, “Are you lost?” If they need information they might grin and say, “Yeah, I’m wanting to go to the Post Office.” Or, wherever they are needing directions. This provides us opportunity to be helpful by directing them to their desired destination.
In the past when a person starts in one direction and then another it seems obvious there is uncertainty as to which way to go to reach their desired destination. It was often said, “He’s running around like a chicken with its head cut off.” Evidently that expression came to be used in that manner because of how some folks kill chickens. My mother and my maternal grandmother could wring the head of a chicken off in a few seconds. Afterward the headless chicken would jerk around on the ground for a few seconds.
When I was around 5 or 6 years old I complained to my mother that seemed cruel. She gave me a hatchet and told me to kill a chicken. Well I put one on a stump and held it down. Then raised the hatchet ready to chop its head off. The chicken commenced to kick and squawk in trying to get free. This motivated me to lower the hatchet and set the chicken free.
After that I never complained of how my mother killed a chicken before dressing it for the fry pan. In fact, I dearly loved fried chicken.
Dub Mowery is a Gospel preacher in the Church of Christ. A native of Southeast Oklahoma, he is the author of Colloquial Sayings & Expressions (Morris Publishing, 2008)