Having established ourselves - my family - deeply in Western culture, I have determined that there are two kinds of Western machismo. First is the chivalrous, heroic machismo that typifies the man who will do anything to protect the lady and keep her safe. He usually wears a white hat in the old westerns.
Unfortunately, there is also the cowardly man who victimizes women because he can. This type will not get coverage here.
In my lifetime I have encountered both types.
The best examples of the white hat type were guys that surrounded us as we grew up. Without patronizing the women in our circle, they would open the door, help load the hay or carry in the bigger boxes.
An example of this chivalrous nature is what Julie and I have been calling, “The Chicken Story.”
Once when Julie and I were quite small we went with Dad to service his hay bailing equipment on the Northwest corner of what is today Chandler Boulevard and Priest Road. It was at that time in the middle of nowhere on the road to nowhere. We had taken what was at the time Williams Field Road, a narrow cement road that had been poured in square blocks. Going down the road a steady thump, thump as the truck passed over each section of block.
Julie and I had been playing around the bailer equipment when a huge red rooster charged Julie. The rooster looked like a champion fighter. His big red cockscomb flipped from side to side as he rushed toward my sister. Long, fancy black tail feathers flittered behind him as he charged. I probably just laughed. I was already a fan of too many Looney Toon cartoons. Who wouldn’t laugh at a charging chicken?
Julie took refuge with Dad. He simply kicked at the rooster to get it away from Julie. The old gentleman who lived on the farm grabbed a shovel and shooed the rooster away from the area where the equipment was parked. The incident was over and I’m not sure, other than Julie’s developing chicken phobia, that we thought much more about the attack.
Within the next week, we were back with Dad one day to service his equipment at the same location. We pulled into the equipment area and soon the old guy who lived in the place came strutting up proudly to where Dad was working, and I was playing. Julie stood in the front seat of the pickup, not wanting to chance another rooster attack.
“You don’t see that rooster here anymore, do you?’ he said. I remember Julie and me glancing at each other. Even at that early age, I knew that a punch line of sorts what coming.
The old guy looked at Julie. “You don’t have to worry,” he said. “I killed him for you and fried him up. Do you want to eat some chicken?”
I guess it was the ultimate payback. The man had chivalrously defended Julie’s honor. And now she could exact her revenge by eating the bird that attacked her.
Fortunately, she had not been attacked by another rooster or chicken since. And it is fortunate as well that there has been no underlying neurosis because of the incident. The story is also a good example of the good, chivalrous machismo.
Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared on “Julie’s Fresh Air,” a blog hosted by Brent’s sister, Julie Murphree, Arizona Farm Bureau Outreach Director.