Having a Foster Farms Moment

19 Mar

It’s been official for about three months now. But it just hit me.

I’ve had his personal belongings. I’ve had his paintings, artwork, and calendars. I’ve had his green cap that hung on the door hook. I’ve had his black Parker pens he kept in the cup. I’ve had our childhood pictures he kept on his desk. I’ve had the wrinkled postcards I sent him from Hawaii and Australia. I’ve had his black Samsonite briefcase. I’ve had all these things … but it just hit me.

I stood there in the meat section of the supermarket contemplating a poultry purchase that never came to pass. It hit me … in all my years of adulthood, I’ve never had to buy chicken … ever.

It has been one of the perks of being in this family. Free chicken. Since 1987 I’ve had that privilege, but after my Dad passed away in 2010, running the business became a little too stressful for my mom, so she decided to sell at the end of last year. And with this sell, one of the last remaining ties I had with my Dad was severed.


So it wasn’t really a strange thing for me to have a moment in front of the refrigerated Foster Farms chicken breasts, although the lady in the black running tights and tangerine jacket seemed to think I was a little off. I remembered all the times my Dad, sporting his white butcher coat and apron, stood behind the counter slicing and dicing with his such precision. I remember the sound of the blades scraping against the knife sharpener stick before he began. I thought about how he engaged in conversations with his customers and laughed it up with friends over coffee.

Here's my Dad, starting out in the business, almost the same age that I am today.

Here’s my Dad, starting out in the business, almost the same age that I am today.

I remember getting behind the counter at 15, my first job, trying to slice and dice and all I did was worry my Dad, because I did not inherit his awesome Ninja knife skills. I had the wash the windows and clean the floors skills. Most chics get a quinceanera as a right of passage when they turn 15. I got a white apron.

I remembered all the Thanksgivings and the hundreds of free-range turkeys that surrounded me in the Rocky-style refrigerator. I remembered the paperwork and hundreds of orders I had to match up with our inventory. I remembered the white butcher paper the chicken was wrapped in … it looked nothing like the yellow Styrofoam and plastic wrap in front of me.

I never thought I’d miss chicken.

There were plenty of times when I got tired of it. I could probably write a cookbook with 101 ways to cook chicken that would rival the shrimping recipes Bubba was laying out for Forrest Gump. Not to mention the turkey. But I guess it’s like anything in life, you don’t really miss it until it’s gone.

So I stood there in the meat section of the Vons and just couldn’t do it. I needed something in white butcher paper. But everyone appeared to be on break, so I headed for the pasta aisle.

Chicken tomorrow.



44 Responses to “Having a Foster Farms Moment”

  1. 1pointperspective March 20, 2014 at 3:35 AM #

    Sometimes the littlest things aren’t as small as they seem.

    • The Guat March 25, 2014 at 8:40 AM #

      Dude. They totally are not, right? I’m so glad someone out there has similar experiences … totally tripped me out. I have these moments about my Dad from time to time. Just random normal every day things for regular people seem to bring a flood of memories.

  2. Kathryn McCullough March 20, 2014 at 3:50 PM #

    Didn’t know this about you. Interestingly, the chicken here is tastier and juicier than any I’ve had anywhere else in the world. But it’s more expensive–one of the very few things that cost more than in the US. Glad you went for the pasta.

    Hugs from Ecuador,

    • The Guat March 25, 2014 at 8:42 AM #

      Hey thanks for reading πŸ™‚ Yeah I imagine it tastes different … fresher I guess…right off the farms. But dude I had no idea it was so expensive there or here. I’m having learning experiences at the market. Gonna stop by today and check you out. πŸ™‚

  3. Jackie Cangro March 21, 2014 at 5:21 PM #

    What a nice photo of your dad. The best parts of life happen in the most ordinary moments. Glad that you have these treasured memories.

    • The Guat March 25, 2014 at 8:45 AM #

      Duuuuuuuuuuude. Totally. They are just random regular everyday things for people and they just seem to bring on pictures and snip-its of my life with my Dad. It’s a trip. But so glad you could relate πŸ™‚

  4. Ted Luoma March 29, 2014 at 5:07 PM #

    My grandfather had an egg farm and I usually got to visit every summer. Your story reminded me of when my grandmother used to make rooster stroganoff. (Roosters aren’t that valuable to an egg farmer).

    • The Guat April 7, 2014 at 4:31 PM #

      Glad I could stir up some good-time memories at the farm. And what a trip I’ve never heard of rooster stroganoff, although it would make sense on an egg farm.

      • Ted Luoma April 7, 2014 at 4:36 PM #

        It was delicious. I just wish I had the recipe. It’s long gone.

  5. anolivedaily March 29, 2014 at 5:09 PM #

    This is so interesting because I had a similar experience myself. My dad worked for the post office for over 20 years. Anything I ever needed mailed (that required more than a stamp) I would just give to him to handle. He knew the best way to send it for the best price. I recently moved to a different state then him and I had to send a package. I realized how lost I was (and how sad it was that my dad worked for the post office for that long and I can’t send a package without help). I think it’s sweet to have a connection like that with someone you love. It’s a small insignificant part of your life that becomes significant.

    • The Guat April 7, 2014 at 4:35 PM #

      Dude isn’t that a trip how that works. Just a basic everyday thing that people do and here we are having moments πŸ™‚ That’s totally how I felt. So glad you could relate πŸ™‚ It is definitely a sweet connection to have and so glad I have it. Hey good to meet you and thanks for stopping by πŸ™‚

  6. susielindau March 29, 2014 at 5:18 PM #

    I love this post and remember it from a couple of weeks ago. I’ve been through this with toys after my husband sold the business, but no one passed away. This must be so poignant for you now. It sounds like you have a lot of wonderful memories of him. Maybe pasta isn’t such a bad thing…. πŸ™‚

    • The Guat March 30, 2014 at 5:09 PM #

      Ha! Thanks Wild Rider! I’ve joined your ranks πŸ™‚ And it is so great that the one time I get Freshly Pressed it’s with a Dad story … very cool feeling. Glad that people can relate to the experience. πŸ™‚ Thanks for stopping by…I’ve been meaning to check out your recent photography post (story through pictures) but every time I go over to click something happens over here. But I’m about to catch up tonight … well maybe it will take me a couple of nights. πŸ™‚

      • susielindau March 30, 2014 at 5:14 PM #

        Enjoy your own Wild Ride Guat!

        • brickhousechick April 1, 2014 at 8:14 AM #

          FELICIDADES, GUAT!!!πŸ‘πŸ‘ Here’s to Pollo!πŸ“πŸ“ And your PAPI! πŸ’™πŸ’šβ€οΈ

  7. Traveling Adventures of a Farm Girl March 29, 2014 at 7:45 PM #

    Very nice

    • The Guat April 3, 2014 at 8:54 AM #

      Thanks so much! Glad you stopped by and took a chance to read the story πŸ™‚

  8. moodsnmoments March 29, 2014 at 9:40 PM #

    true that…we miss the things only when they’re gone or taken away from our lives….how we underestimate these privileges…
    memories help us salvage some bits of it and keep us going.. πŸ™‚ well stated…loved your post.
    congrats on being freshly pressed and thanks for sharing.
    ps: a very nice pic of your dad…

    • The Guat April 3, 2014 at 9:07 AM #

      Oh My God! You are so right and I am so glad that others could relate to what I was saying and feeling. I found that as time passed I had a few moments like these and then realized I completely underestimated everyday stuff. But I’m glad I have plenty to remember. Thanks so much for reading πŸ™‚

  9. itsteen0440 March 29, 2014 at 10:19 PM #

    Great write up…really enjoyed reading it!!

    • The Guat April 3, 2014 at 9:11 AM #

      Thanks so much! I really appreciate you stopping by and getting to know my dad.

  10. sawerajabeen March 30, 2014 at 4:05 AM #

    Good dadu

  11. ndlynch March 30, 2014 at 4:14 AM #

    Thank you for sharing, nice story. I’ve lost my mom, dad and husband and can relate to unexpected flood of memories at a foreseen time.

    • The Guat April 3, 2014 at 9:15 AM #

      Oh my goodness. That is tough to get through and I am so sorry for your loss. You probably know exactly what happened to me here…it’s definitely hard to get passed the unexpected memories that cut into your heart at the most random times. But sometimes it’s a good thing to know that I loved somebody so much and that I can keep them alive that way and share his life with my kids. Hope you are well. Thanks for stopping by.

      • ndlynch April 7, 2014 at 4:14 PM #

        Thank you. I am doing well now that I grieved and have developed my spirituality. I found solace in knowing my loved ones are in spirit, a different dimension and not truly out of reach.

  12. vater_fotografo March 30, 2014 at 4:40 AM #

    Reblogged this on le mie foto ___________ vater_fotografo.

  13. 1pointperspective March 30, 2014 at 5:37 AM #

    There’s a feeling of satisfaction in seeing one of our faves get Freshly Pressed. You deserve it – great post, as always!

    • The Guat March 30, 2014 at 5:00 PM #

      Ha! Thanks! I totally appreciate the sentiment. It was an awesome feeling to see click on the Freshly Pressed page and see my pops there. Thanks so much for reading and stopping by … I might have to celebrate this Freshly Pressed moment with some chocolate πŸ™‚ I know your wife would understand πŸ™‚

  14. kkessler833 March 30, 2014 at 7:18 AM #

    Great post! I love chicken!

    • The Guat April 3, 2014 at 9:18 AM #

      Ha! Thanks…yeah there was a time I ate it like five days a week, I’ve sort of cut back as time went on … I think I had plenty of protein growing up. Thanks for stopping by πŸ™‚

  15. Julianne Q Johnson March 30, 2014 at 7:22 AM #

    Grief is such a sneaky thing. You’ll be doing all right, getting on with your life, and all it takes is an object, or a song, or a smell, to bring it right back in your face. Keep on doing, and keep on remembering.

    • The Guat April 3, 2014 at 9:24 AM #

      It is super sneaky coming at you at random times like when you do laundry, or you’re at Office Depot, or you’re on a water slide, or when you’re at the supermarket. All five senses are working the memory boards. Definitely sneaky, but I’m glad I have them so I can remember him. Thanks for reading, really appreciate it.

  16. danliblog March 30, 2014 at 7:28 AM #

    Reblogged this on danliblog's Blog.

  17. authorchuks2014 March 30, 2014 at 12:09 PM #

    Sorry it went but that was burden of life.

    • The Guat April 3, 2014 at 9:27 AM #

      Thanks…sometimes it’s tough to go through these things even after time passes. Thanks for reading.

  18. anotherday2paradise April 1, 2014 at 7:28 AM #

    I missed this one whilst I was away. So poignant, and very moving. It’s amazing how something quite ordinary can bring back fond memories of a loved one.

  19. anotherday2paradise April 1, 2014 at 7:30 AM #

    Congratulations, TG. I love it when your dad pops up in your posts. πŸ™‚

  20. Angelia Sims April 1, 2014 at 6:04 PM #

    Those sweet memories… Remembering the smile, the laugh, and those ninja knife skills…. Love it and my heart twinges too. It is hard to say good-bye and I doubt any packaged chicken will ever taste decent anyway. I am sure the pasta rocked! This was a wonderful writing piece. Very worthy of being freshly pressed.

  21. lameadventures April 1, 2014 at 9:07 PM #

    It’s very moving that something that might seem so ordinary to the average schmoe or schmoe-ette, trying to buy a chicken at the market, completely symbolizes the ending of an era in your life, Guat. Glad you got FP’ed on a post about your beloved dad.

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