OK, maybe a chicken did attack your mother

By Mike Benbow Herald Writer

Feedback from recent columns:

I did a piece a few weeks ago that led with the question: “Has your mom ever been attacked by a chicken?”

Then I answered my own question, by saying, “I didn’t think so.”

The column was about all the crazy stories people tell to stay home from work when they’re really not sick.

I should have seen this coming, but I got a lovely, handwritten letter from Berdenia Rhynard of Arlington, telling the story about the chicken attack on her mom on the family farm near Oso many, many years ago.

Rhynard, who said she is now in her 90s, recalled that she was just a kid when a Plymouth Rock rooster spurred her mom in the leg.

“My dad got the turpentine and some sugar and bandaged her leg,” she wrote. “It was scary, healed all right, but left a scar.”

She went on to say that “in the Model T days people did what they could by doctoring at home.”

Her dad was the family’s HMO. I suspect that using items readily found at home like sugar and turpentine was a good way to curb spiraling health care costs. These days, the sugar and turpentine would both have a trade name involving a lot of Latin and would cost at least $30 for a small amount.

And, of course, chicken attacks didn’t lead to a day off work in those days. After providing the emergency medical care, dad “got the cows milked and the chores done,” Rhynard said.

She added that geese and turkeys can get mean, too. “We know from experience,” she said.

I suspect that the holidays have always put turkeys, geese and chickens in a fowl mood.

Larry Whatley sent me an e-mail following another column on popular scams to warn about what he described as the “Grandpa, I’ve been mistakenly arrested in Canada and need bail” scam.

He knew that one and didn’t send any money. But he noted that it points out that “these frauds are very difficult for our law enforcement to uncover and prosecute.”

Another reader called with a similar story about a call from his “favorite grandson,” who supposedly needed cash quickly.

As I said earlier, tis the season for scams, especially for older folks, who tend to be more trusting and more giving.

Along that line, the state Department of Financial Institutions announced recently that it’s participating in a program to fight investment fraud or exploitation involving older people.

A number of medical and financial associations are joining forces to help educate people in health care to spot potential fraud involving elderly patients.

The new program will join doctors, regulators and geriatric societies to look for and react to ongoing scams.

Mike Benbow: 425-339-3459; benbow@heraldnet.com