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Bev's Burner
Some's Hot, Some's Not 

By B.K. Carter

"Bev Carter is the owner/publisher of the Fort Bend Star, winner of numerous state and national awards. She has been a voice of Fort Bend's largest circulated newspaper for 29 years."


 

Here chickie, chickie, chickie.....I grew up in that place and time where if you wanted fried chicken for lunch after church, you simply changed out of your Sunday go-to-meeting clothes, walked out to the yard, grabbed an unlucky bird, wrung its head off, and sat down on an old stump and proceeded to pluck its feathers. You were assured of a fresh fried chicken, so fresh it was never even refrigerated. I can remember my Aunt Mabel Underwood (who was also an aunt on my father’s side) horrifying me with a flopping, headless chicken.

Fresh chicken was only got that one way, and I even remember once when we went to Christoval for a few days for a Carter family reunion (Grannie Carter used to take the “waters” there), we took along several live chickens, fed them around our cabin, then ate them one by one. That tells you how stupid chickens are. One would think they would notice the disappearing flock and run off.

My mother didn’t get her chickens that way. We lived out on a ranch with plenty of chicken room, but my semi-outlaw father only kept fighting game cocks for his real outlaw friends, so our fried chicken came from the “locker” in town.

Everybody had a freezer in town in those days. They called it a “locker” and you kept your slaughtered farm stuff there before deep freezes became available for the general public.

No, mamma didn’t milk no cows either. She was a real cowgirl/beauty operator, and she wasn’t about to do all that other farm wife stuff which might mess up her nails or make her have to smell something real bad.

So when I first married my first husband, I had no idea how to cook a chicken or even cut one up for cooking. Fortunately, my favorite Aunt Margaret Compton who could work in the kitchen so fast her hands would blur, and who was eventually murdered (along with her daughter, my cousin, and another friend) in a gory and much publicized Dallas triple homicide by a vengeful ex-son in law, taught me how to cut up a chicken for frying when we lived in Snyder, Texas that I have not forgotten till this day.

All of this is to tell you about my recent experience with a frying chicken (You didn’t think it was a trip down Texanna memory lane, did you?)

I asked my granddaughter what she wanted for her birthday dinner, promising to cook anything. One of her menu choices was fried chicken. My first inclination was to buy some KFC, Church’s or Popeye’s, as I hadn’t fried chicken in so long, and I figured that she would be just as happy since I wasn’t sure if she had EVER had real home-fried chicken.

The more I thought about it, the hungrier I became for some homemade fried chicken myself so off to the store I scamper.

Now remember, it’s been many years since I had anything other than KFC or Church’s, so I was shocked, SHOCKED mind you, about the price for a cut-up fryer. EIGHT BUCKS, and I figured I needed two. “I’m not paying $16 for unfried chicken,” I told myself. “Wonder how much whole chickens are? I haven’t had a “wishbone” in 15 years,” I thought. You don’t get wishbones with store-bought chicken.

The whole chickens were $5 each so I bought a couple and brought them home. I had forgotten what a chore it is to cut up chickens. For one thing, I don’t had the right knife so my two birds got really hacked up. I had forgotten the hassle of skinning the fowls. And the mess flouring and frying make? I’m not sure my kitchen will recover until a professional cleans it properly.

I’m telling you all this to complain about the high cost of fresh chicken and to give you a break from unremitting politics. No wonder Bo Pilgrim can afford to hand out $100 dollar bills on the House floor. Okay, I just had to throw something political in.

Don’t forget......You’ve probably received your home and property assessment from the Fort Bend central appraisal district by now. Since you only have until the end of May to protest, you should have received it by now. If you overlooked it, you can find it on the internet under http://www.fbcad.org/Appraisal/PublicAccess/

For those of you who pay your taxes through your mortgage company every month, this little piece of paper might not mean much to you. After all, it only shows what your property is worth, and doesn’t require you to pay anything....yet.

In fact you probably are patting yourself on the back as your property has increased in value over last year. You are telling yourself how good an investment you have made because the value has gone up so much, often with no reason whatsoever.

Well, wake yourself up. Those assessed values are used by as many as 100 taxing entities, 17 of which may tax you.

Your property values have probably increased because someone in your neighborhood sold their property for a nice profit. The Central Appraisal District is quick to jump on that. They are not as quick to record sales of insignificant values and bring your assessment down.

The internet is a wonderful thing. You can look at the values of your neighbor’s house and see how you compare with it. You can even take that to the CAD as proof that your property is overvalued.

If you want to protest, simply go the CAD building over in Rosenberg on FM 2218 (almost across the street from Terry High School and one half block down from the Driver’s License building) and line up to protest. Remember, they can’t go up more than 10% per year. Do you realize if your property increased 10% a year, then in five short years, you property would be worth (and taxed) 50% more. Go early.

 

Contact bkcstar@earthlink.net, if you would like to express your opinions/views regarding the column. Write a SIGNED letter to the editor with valid day time phone number--name can be withheld by request.

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   Last Update:  May 31, 2007