The Flying Chicken
Years ago, we had to work at the telephone company for a minimum of 15 years before we were allowed to join the Pioneers. My time was almost completed so I knew it was time or almost time that I could join the well-known Catawba Pioneer Club. Jean Loflin, my old supervisor, invited me to the annual Christmas luncheon and I responded yes that I would love to attend. I went home and dug thru my closet to find the perfect outfit to wear and of course I had to have shoes to match. I Knew I wanted to make a good impression with this group because they did a lot of volunteer work in the community and I wanted to make my mom and dad proud of me. My parents did a lot of community service work in the small community where I grew up and it just seemed natural to do my share too. So, on that fateful day I was dressed to the nines, and yes, I thought I was something in my dress with shoes to match going to my very first Pioneer event.
I had to wait on Jean who unfortunately got an angry customer, and it took a while to get them calm and satisfied. We were so close on time getting to the luncheon, there were almost no seats left, but fortunately or for me maybe unfortunately, Jean found two seats directly across from John and Frank Barnes. All I could think of was oh lawd Jean, why did you have to find a seat across from the Barnes. I was petrified of those two gentlemen, why was I scared of them I can’t say but I was. So silly because they were the perfect gentlemen and so nice especially when I really got embarrassed during the meal.
The welcome was given prayer said and our plates were delivered. Fried chicken, and all I could think was oh my gosh, no! Now my mama used to say you can have manners even if you don’t have anything else, and say please and thank you, but anyway I digress. The meal was chicken, rice and gravy, green beans, a biscuit and sweet tea. Now I’m starving, so hungry I could have eaten several pieces of fried chicken. It was so crisp looking and golden brown and looked yummy and smelled so good. I couldn’t wait for my first bite, so I picked up my fork and knife and started to cut my chicken and I can’t even tell you exactly how it happened, but my chicken came alive and flew into John Barnes, plate scattering rice and greasy gravy all over his shirt and the table cloth!!! I wanted to crawl under the table and hide my head. Everybody started laughing, everybody but me that is. I made an impression all right.
John Barnes picked up my piece of chicken and said loud enough for the ones at our table to hear. Ann, I believe this belongs to you and picked up my piece of chicken and dropped it back in my plate. I was trying to hold my tears and then Mr. John continued to say I’m gonna eat my chicken like I do at home. I’m gonna eat it with my fingers, I never liked cutting my chicken up anyway. Everyone laughed including me.
For several weeks after my flying chicken catastrophe every time I saw Mr. Frank he laughed and would ask if I had eaten any more chicken. The best part of that meal was made by Mr. John and Mr. Frank. Those two gentlemen could have acted an entirely different way and totally embarrassed me, instead they taught me how to treat others and how to put people at ease in any situation. I hope I’ve practiced what they both taught me all those years ago. I’ve never forgotten their kindness and to this day every time I eat fried chicken, I always think of two of my favorite people of all time, Mr. Frank and Mr. John. Thank you, kind Sirs, for such a good lesson.