So you say you want fried chicken…

It is a well known fact…if you are from the South, you LOVE fried chicken! For most of my young life, my father pastored small country churches. Almost every Sunday, some family in the church would invite our family into their home for Sunday dinner…and almost always, it was fried chicken…HEAVENLY!!! Imagine my dismay, as I got older, and realized that a continual diet of “fried” anything, was bad for your health. Nowadays, I “splurge” maybe once a month and eat something fried…usually either fried chicken or catfish. Yum! So it may be a little surprising that this week’s article does involve fried chicken…

I can remember when Kentucky Fried Chicken first came to our town. Oh my, that “original recipe…” finger-lickin’ good…I have gotten a chuckle out of the chain’s more recent marketing techniques, in that they no longer use “Kentucky FRIED Chicken” in their advertising. They simply refer to themselves as “KFC,” as if we will not KNOW what the “F” stands for…

Since I was Choir  Director at our church, my Sundays were always the busiest day of the week. I usually cooked a nice meal for friends and family, but there were other times when we either went out to eat after church, or picked something up to take back home. On this particular Sunday, I was simply going to pick up some chicken (yes, fried), and fix a few “sides” myself for the meal. Now, let’s remember, it was on a SUNDAY, and it was around 12:05 p.m. – “prime” chicken time…

I walked into the KFC just like I walk into any place of business, with a smile on my face, and a cheery greeting to the employee. That was the first problem. The woman looked as if it were her very last day on earth, and she had to come to work! She looked at me with an expression that said, “you’re going to want something, aren’t you?” She said, “Can I help you?”…not really meaning it… I smiled brightly and gave her my order. She made a heavy sigh and turned around to walk over to the counter where the chicken was, which was about three feet away. It took her almost five minutes to make the walk. I could have just laid on the floor and gotten there quicker than she did! I could have gone out back, chased a chicken down in the yard, caught and plucked it by time she made her journey! Once she got there, she looked into the bin, turned around, came back to where I was standing (another five minutes), and said, “We don’t have any.” I looked at her incredulously, with disbelief, and said, “You don’t HAVE any fried chicken, on a Sunday, at noon?” She said, “No, Ma’am.” (What I wanted to say was, “This IS a Kentucky Fried Chicken in the South, for goodness sakes!! What is wrong with you people? You KNOW people want their fried chicken after church! Why didn’t you have some made, prepared for all of us? We want fried chicken on Sunday!!”) However, I am a nice person, who believes that you should treat people better than you would like to be treated, so I paused for a moment, and asked, “Could you make some?” She looked at me, almost giddy with relief, and said, “Well, yes, but it will take 10 minutes…” It was obvious that she thought I would not wait for her to cook the chicken, and she would not have to exert any more energy working. I surprised her, and said, “That would be great! I will be happy to wait.”  She turned around and ever so slowly went to the back to cook some chicken. TWENTY minutes later I had my chicken and was on my way home…with a promise to myself that I would never go back to that particular KFC, especially on a Sunday. But the incident got me to thinking…

Most of you know that I am a huge Pat Summit fan (former UT basketball coach for the Lady Volunteers). In one of her motivational speeches, she said, “You can control how hard you work.” I truly believe that! Some people just “show up” for work. You’ve seen them, and maybe you work with some of them. Who knows, maybe you ARE one of them…they basically say through their actions, “I’m here – what else could you possibly want?” I was taught that if you were hired to do a job, you did the job to the best of your ability. This means, that if someone hired you for an 8-hour day, you gave them your best for the full 8 hours.

Most of us spend so much of our lives working. I cannot understand individuals who continue to work at something that they don’t enjoy. I do understand that we don’t always have opportunity or means to get the position of our dreams; however, it takes us right back to that earlier thought…if someone gives you a job, and pays you for that job, whether you like it or not, you promised to do the job to the best of your ability. This KFC employee made a choice that Sunday as to how hard she was going to work…and she obviously decided “not to.” She was just going to “get by” with doing as little as she could.

I’ve been fortunate, and very blessed, to be in a field, and a job, that I enjoy…every day! But you know what, I’ve also had those jobs that I did not like as well, but I wanted to eat and be able to pay bills, so I worked. Those employers got the same level of energy, enthusiasm, and hard work that I give when I am doing something I love. Life is short…find a job doing something you enjoy. Just as Pat says, I control how hard I work, so you know what my choice is…Won’t you join me? Just for this week…

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