More often than not, the most random and obscure occurrences and observations can trigger the most cherished memories. A few months ago I was out with some friends and Damon ordered some chicken strips. Seeing those four tender pieces of work must have threw me into a microwave oven time machine back to my childhood.Flash back twenty-some years, when I was in elementary school.I was a chubby little kid with not many friends! I'm not going to lay on the psychiatric coach and explain why, because I don't really know—just how I remembered it. I hated going to school as a kid. It was a place of uncomfort and unfamiliarity. Where the Hell did all these random kids come from? How do they all know each other? Those were minor 3rd world issues in Olympic Elementary School. What was the worst was what I had to face at 12:00pm every Tuesday of the week...baked beans for lunch.Yuck! I absolutely hated beans as a child. In fact, I hated it as much as a Seattle girl in Pioneer Square on Saturday night hates wearing comfortable shoes to go clubbing. I seriously wanted to cry every week, having to eat that garbage. Sidenote: I actually like eating baked beans now, but I obviously had a traumatic childhood. I remember feeling nauseous from the smell of the cocoon of beans that will eventually turn into the butterfly of some kid's smelly ass fart.That's where Mom stepped in. She had enough. This will not stand!
[Queue segway into a description about my mother]My mother is the sweetest person in the world. She has common attributes of a typical Vietnamese mother, standing at a near 5'0" and an accent when she speaks English. She's more than that though. I've never met someone who loves so much. Sometimes I think she loves other people's kids more than their parents do. I've yet to meet someone who loves animals as much as Mom. Do you know any parent who stops by their child's home...to visit the cat? Don't get me started about how she feels about deer—one of her favorite animals. I think she still gets choked up every time watching Bambi.As I mentioned before, I didn't really have many friends growing up. Most of my social life was playing with my older brother and some of our family-friends, and of course, spending time with my mom. I remember watching Tom and Jerry and other cartoons before I went to school. Our favorite cartoon was the one with the Michigan J Frog, where the guy discovers that the talking frog sings "Hello my baby" whenever no one is around. When the guy tries to show someone else the singing frog, Michigan J just sits there like a mute. That bastard.Mom taught me about everything I know: faith + devotion, how to cook, passion for all living creatures (except for snakes and rats, which she hates) and always encouraged me to draw.[So, back to the story]
Mom saw I was suffering from (obviously) severe issues, so every Monday night before I went to bed she would baked these Banquet chicken strips and put them in a Tupperware container. The ketchup was provided from my (then) teenage aunt who always took a shit ton of packets from Burger King, one of a billion jobs she had, but that's another story.The next Tuesday I went to school with a packed lunch—first time ever. It was a bit odd to have a paper sack instead of the usual dollar bill and change to buy a hot lunch. Okay, it was game time—12:00pm...baked beans just got carted into the classroom."Not this time." I thought.This time...things are going to be different. When I opened the lid, I saw four golden miracles in the form of cold crispy chicken strips. I imagine Howard Carter felt this exact same way when he stumbled upon the pyramids for the first time. This might be better. Every bite was so savory...the taste of overthrowing the oppression of those smelly ass baked beans!Ladies and Gentlemen: Mission Accomplished!From then on it seemed like every Tuesday was Cold Chicken Strip Tuesday, but maybe that's how I want to remember it.As I grow older I realize that this memory is not an attribution for my hatred of school lunches, but more about a mother's love...a mother who will do anything for her sons.It's usually the little acts of kindness that make all the change in the world, and can define how someone carries out the rest of their life.Happy Mother's Day, Mom. My mission in life is to provide Cold Chicken Strips of love and kindness for everyone I encounter.