Go You Chicken Fat Go Away

I am obsessed with Chicken Fat.

Ever since I saw an iPhone commercial featuring that physical fitness golden oldie, it’s been running through my head. I even woke up one morning muttering it.

Musical theater guru Morrie Enders tells me that Meredith Willson, composer of “The Music Man,” also composed this physical fitness ditty and then he enlisted Robert Preston, star of “The Music Man,” to perform it.

Once I knew that, it made sense because it sounded as if it could have been included in the score for that musical. But what really tickles my chicken fat is that President John F. Kennedy commissioned the song, and once he heard it, apparently thought it was great, too.

I’m trying to imagine JFK, sitting in the oval office, listening to Preston singing, “Once more on the rise, Nuts to the flabby guys.”

No wonder I liked JFK.

I now understand why my dad marshaled his own forces and led us in exercises. If JFK wanted us to be physically fit, My Irish Catholic dad was going to make doubly sure we would be. Heck, we didn’t actually need the extra pushups and jumping jacks. For fun all day long we played war, ran obstacle courses and ran for the sheer joy of running.

But I can still picture Dad leading us in jumping jacks. What a sight. And the longer we jumped, the greater Dad’s army grew as neighbor kids joined in the action. I don’t think there was a flabby guy in the entire neighborhood, which is why we could keep up with my determined Dad.

The song is catchy, but I think the reason I run into the room when I hear the commercial is because it brings back such sweet memories. So give that chicken fat back to the chicken and don’t be chicken again.

Go you chicken fat, go away! Go, you chicken fat, go!


Jimmy Crack Corn

It’s 9 p.m. on a Thursday in June and the fresh breeze blowing in through the open windows has distracted me from useful occupation.

I could be doing the dishes, or cleaning up after last week’s sale, or vacuuming.

But I am doing none of that because this breeze is so novel and so welcome that I cannot concentrate on anything but its freshness.

It’s been like this all day and I scarcely could decide what best to do to celebrate it.

I ended up scrubbing a moldy rug on the driveway and then heading out to an auction. Once I snagged some collapsible sawhorses and a handful of good old shovels, I abandoned the auction for a trip to Culver’s.

The young man who took my chicken salad sandwich order was also filled with the joy of the day.

“Jimmy crack corn and I don’t care if it keeps up like this,” he said with a wide grin.

I was so struck by his cheerfulness that I wanted Jimmy to crack corn, also.

I munched the sandwich by an open window and then wandered the yard, contemplating what my hard work and God’s grace had wrought in the garden. I am breathing in as much of this fresh breeze as possible, delighting in the feel of a sweater in June and the fresh scent of the garden wafting through the house.

If tomorrow is a duplicate, I’ll be giddy with joy. If not, it is enough I was able to experience this one perfect day.

Now, Jimmy, let’s go crack that corn because no telling how long this breeze will last.