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My Life in The Outback

“Running Afoul of a Fighting Cock…”

In a blog I wrote last year, I mentioned my former brother-in-law’s fighting rooster. He had beautiful feathers and a red crest. We had a dozen hens, but as the only male, he was king of the flock. And he knew it. Without another male to spar with, he’d taken on people.

First, he started by pecking at a person’s ankles. Apparently, not satisfied, he was soon jumping shoulder height to peck at the back of people’s necks.

Unchallenged, he’d now developed a “no retreat, no surrender” attitude. I’d managed to avoid him and remained the

only person not yet attacked by Gallito de Oro. He’d been named after a Mexican cinema classic with a similar name, based on a novel by Juan Rulfo. Boasting a screenplay by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the Nobel Laureate (1982), and Carlos Fuentes, it’s a story of a man of no means, played by my favorite old-time actor Ignacio López Tarso, who nurses an injured cock back to health and sets him up to fight. Wealth, fame, romance, and temptation become the man’s companions as he finds success with his fighting rooster.

Our very own Gallito’s success went to his head. Everyone walked in fear of him, but my brother-in-law loved his contentious fowl.

One day, the men were at muster camp and I was alone at the homestead washing clothes in an old-style wringer washer. Looking out the window toward the clothesline, I saw Gallito prancing around. I decided if he wanted a fight with me, he’d get it. Removing a metal shelf from the gas refrigerator, I took it outside with my laundry basket. First, I leaned the metal shelf against my leg. Next I warned the cock to leave me alone. I was four months pregnant at the time and I didn’t want an encounter with an arrogant and aggressive rooster.

Gallito circled by. I picked up the metal shelf, held it with both hands, like a baseball bat, and took my stance. He flew up. I pivoted and hit him in mid-air, like a perfectly pitched ball. Gallito fell to the ground. At first, I thought I’d really hurt him, which was not my intention. But he hobbled up, shook his feathers, and stared at me. I stared back. He limped away in retreat. I let out a sigh of relief.

After my homerun with the fighting cock, I smiled every time I saw men running when Gallito attacked them.

He never, never bothered me again. In fact, he avoided me. My former brother-in-law noticed it one day and asked me why Gallito shunned me.

I shrugged and simply said, “I don’t think he likes women.”


Next installment: More Adventures at the Homestead

Visit me at I love hearing from readers. Ask a question, suggest an idea, or comment about this blog or a previous one. (All blogs are on my website.)

This series of My Life in the Outback is based on recollections of my life in Australia many years ago. My own photographs of Australia are not only limited, but they are also old 35mm film in dismal condition. To make the series more appealing to the reader, I supplement with photographs that are similar to the experiences and locations I’ve described. I’m often dependent on pictures from the public domain and Creative Commons.

Note: Names of some people have been changed to protect their identity since this is not a memoir, but merely my recollections of Australia. The name of the cattle station where I lived was known as either St. Vidgeon’s or St. Vigeon. I use the first spelling in most cases, but on occasion, the second one comes in handy.

Photo credits:

All photographs are used in an editorial or educational manner.

Photos: Roosters and Gallo de Oro CD cover – Public domain

My Life in Australia – Installment 13 of this blog is brought to you by Tortuga Publishing, LLC


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