Saturday, March 3, 2012

Funny Stuff: God Bless Colonial Harland Sanders

On September 9, 1890 a young man named Harland David Sanders was born in Henryville, Indiana.

Harland Sanders
Harland David Sanders

His was a hard life.  His biological father died when he was seven and his step-father, when his mother re-married, was violent.  He joined the army at 16 and served in Cuba.  Upon return to the states, he worked among other jobs, as a fireman for the railroad and a steamboat pilot.

Why do I tell you this?  Because, when Minxi and I arrived in Hu Jho at 3:00 am, 13 hours behind schedule, the only people at the bus stop were a handful of those very helpful people who badgered us and followed us around until it became clear that we couldn't just wait there for the 8:00 AM bus to Xin Du.  A nice lady we'd befriended on the bus offered to take us to her place but her dad said no.  We caught a cab and told him, "Take us anywhere safe."

You see, in 1950, as a reward for his innovative pressure cooking technique and creative use of herbs and spices, Kentucky Governor, Ruby Laffoon, renamed Harland David Sanders, Colonial Harland Sanders, and at 3:00 in the morning in a town where westerners were so rare that everyone stared at me like I was a movie star, our bus driver took us to a 24 hour KFC.  That's right.  The all nighter in Huzhou China, is a Kentucky Fried Chicken.  The world is truly bizarre beyond comprehension.

Minxi and I spent four hours in that KFC that morning, eating spicy chicken sandwiches, drinking milk tea, and chatting with the other clients who seemed to think meeting an American was pretty cool.  KFC's menu was pretty much the same, as was the smiling face of Colonial Sanders.  It kind of fit in a way.  I was feeling more than a little Kentucky Fried.

Outside, street sweepers, farmers carrying their food to market in trays strung on poles over their shoulders, and mystery moped riders passed to and fro in the dark streets.  I was in a strange, not kentucky fried, city, in the dark, continents from home, yet I was safe, chilling with my love in the KFC.
By 7:00 am we were full, and back in a cab, sleep deprived but safe.  I don't know where we would have gone if not to Kentucky Fried Chicken, but all I could think, as the sun rose and we made our way back to the bus terminal was, "God bless you, Colonial Sanders."

Colonial Sanders
Colonial Harland Sanders

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