if he’s not a spring chicken, what does that make me?

A friend of mine just commented to me in an email about a fellow from our community who’s joining the navy. She was surprised because, as she said,

“He’s no spring chicken.”

I know what it means, but I wanted to know what it means.

So, since I’m not from the poultry enthusiasts, being a lacto-ovo-vegetarian myself,  but I do have a love of language, I checked out the expression.

Here’s what wisegeek has to say:

Agriculturally speaking, there really is a creature known as a spring chicken, although chefs may call it a Cornish game hen or Poussin. Bred primarily for eating, a spring chicken is a very young bird with a high ratio of white to dark meat. The meat of a spring chicken is said to be much juicier and more tender than older chickens raised for the dinner table. During the earliest days of poultry farming, it was impossible to raise chicks during the cold winter months, so a chicken brought to market in the spring was prized for its youth and fresher flavor.

Metaphorically speaking, a spring chicken could represent a person in the prime of his or her youth. A spring chicken may be a little naive or unseasoned at times, but it often makes up in physical agility and personality what it may lack in worldly experience. A young college student may be described as a spring chicken by others who envy his or her youthful appearance or unclouded worldview.

Then I found a very cute drawing on a very cute site called the DAD Project.

Spring Chicken

Since it’s so cute, I thought I’d find out more, so here it is:

The D.A.D. (Drawing A Day) Project – an ongoing, online, art-based fundraiser for the Canadian Cancer Society, the largest national charitable funder of cancer research in Canada.

We are two sisters, Emily and Serena. Our father was diagnosed in May 2009 with metastatic stage 4 colon cancer in his lungs and liver. After a courageous year-and-a-half battle, he passed away in early October 2010.

One of the toughest things we faced when  our Dad was sick was this overwhelming feeling of helplessness. As we are both illustrators, we launched The D.A.D. Project in June 2010 as a creative effort to give back to an organization that helped our father, and that helps so many others who are fighting cancer.

We are continuing this project as a tribute to our Dad whom we miss everyday.

But, as good ideas go, this ran out of steam, since they posted on Jan 1 that they would not be doing a drawing a day, but more sporadic. And perhaps, since their goal was to support this worthy cause for their father, once he passed away, the strength of the initiative faded.

Like no longer a spring chicken.

So, with this all in mind, why would the navy want spring chickens? Because going to war is naive?

The fellow in the navy, who is according to my friend, no spring chicken, is the same age as my youngest son.

He will always be a spring chicken to me.


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