Love not Chicken Nuggets

I put on my snow gear, packed my snow shoes and took my knee to the mountain to see how my rehabilitation was going. It’s only 45 minutes to the top of the mountain but it seemed like forever and my knee gets stiff sitting in the car for more than 15 minutes. I know, quit whining and get on with the story.

There was a parking spot at the very back part of the lot so I was close to the snowshoe trail and didn’t have far to walk. I know this sounds, shall we say oxymoronic, but walking on the ice covered parking lot in boots can be more dangerous that it sounds.

Snowshoes on and poles in hand, I headed out on the trail…the downhill trail. This turned out not to be the brightest idea I have had in quite some time. Lulled into a false sense of the security my still untested physical prowess, I went much further than I should have, making the return trip more of a test on my resolve to survive than my physical ability to do so. Having made it back to the car my stomach rejoiced in the fact that I had packed a lunch and my taste buds in the fact that I had also packed a Deschutes Black Butte Porter to wash it all down with. (One also carefully balanced here on the computer desk as I write.)

I dove into the sandwich and thought how so healthy I was, snowshoeing, breathing in mountain fresh air and eating a healthy low fat turkey sandwich; which was accompanied by an unhealthy bag of chips but followed by a nice healthy red apple… Hey two out of three.

As I sat there and enjoyed my lunch I recalled a news story that I had heard several times during the past week. The mother of a four year old girl had packed her an almost identical lunch (sands the beer…apple juice substitute) and sent her off to preschool to romp, play and enjoy her day with the promise of a healthy, filling and lovingly packed lunch awaiting her mid day. Only this was not to be.

The state certified school soup Nazi inspected her lunch and decided that it did not meet the states mandated nutrition standards. Her lunch was tossed out and replaced with the school’s lunch for the day which was, get ready for this, chicken nuggets. You got that right chicken nuggets beat out a turkey and cheese on whole wheat bread as a healthy lunch. Wasn’t it not that long ago that the government and every other nutritionist were chiding parents for taking their kids to Mac Donalds for a chicken nugget kid’s meal? And even if the government provided school lunch included vegetables, kids seldom eat them. Usually they have to be tricked, cajoled or threatened with no TV for a week just to get them to even think about vegetables. And the only government vegetables I ever got in the military sprouted not from the ground but from a number ten can where they had been sitting since WWII and needed enough salt to flavor them to make them eatable my blood pressure rose to a dangerous level. All this and figuring out what chicken parts made up the chicken nuggets would have any thinking parent resistant of providing them for their child’s midday meal.

I wonder if that parent resisted the state and fought for her parental rights to send her child to school with what she felt was nutritional…or not…if the state certified soup Nazi could have her haled in for child endangerment.

If this had happened during the years my poor mother was raising five boys and sending us off to school and my father off to work with lunches packed with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches what would have happened to her…and us. We knew that we weren’t getting meat sandwiches like the kids who came from families with money or kids sent to school with folding money to purchase their lunch, but we did know my mother was doing her best to feed us all on a tight budget and our lunches were always packed with love…can’t fit much love into a couple of folded one dollar bills…or state provided chicken nuggets.

Days that I sit at the counter in our kitchen where I can pull much of anything I want out of the cupboards of refrigerator, I’ll make myself a peanut butter, butter and strawberry preserve sandwich, Dump some potatoes chips on a plate and savor the sweet jelly mixing with the salty chips and think of all the love my mother packed into all those lunches of my childhood and consider myself lucky. Not only did I find out that I could survive on much less that the government mandated minimum daily requirement of what they considered nutritional food but that eating anything in moderation was the key to being healthy.

And sincerely I’m glad we didn’t have money enough to be sent to school with folding money to purchase the government school lunch, because it could never have replaced all the love I found in the peanut butter and jelly sandwich my mother packed for me…so much more filling than government provided chicken nuggets.


One thought on “Love not Chicken Nuggets

  1. Hey Richard,

    Just stopping by to check out your blog. It’s awesome, feel like I know you a lot better now. I and some other couple of friends are making a wordpress blog too. We will share some work in progress based on the same theme there. I’ll let you know the link once we actually make it.

    Keep in touch,


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