My dad told a story about when he was a little boy. Seems he used to spend summers on his grandparents' farm in Nash Co, NC. They had chickens, of course, as most did. He remembered seeing chickens running around with their heads cut off, from which the expression comes. Most folks today can't claim that anymore. And that may be a good thing. But I digress.
When a little boy, he would squat down, pick up chicks, rub them and say, "This one is so soft and black." "This one is so soft and white." "This one is so soft and red." But the speckled chicks gave him pause. One day, he picked up a speckled chick and said, "This one is so soft and ... other sorts." And so the expression was born.
To honor my dad in his later years, my talented sister handmade The Other Sorts Quilt. It is my good fortune to have it now that Gramps is gone. It hangs in a place of honor in my kitchen ... within view of my own chicken coop and Other Sorts, my speckled hen.