By Jack H. Smith
Three Forks Voice 

Column: Fried Chicken and Graduation


With the Three Forks High School 2021 graduation ceremony just days away, this is the perfect time to write a column about Colonel Sanders. Whoever reads this might be a little bit confused about what those two things have to do with each other. I’m hoping after reading this, you might see a hit more about how they are related.

Colonel Sanders is synonymous with fried chicken for an older generation, and even those who might not care for Kentucky Fried Chicken, there was no escaping his presence. The younger generation cannot escape Sanders either. It seems like there is a commercial featuring an old, videotaped version of him or a guest actor portraying him on television about every five minutes.

Before becoming the most famous person involved with the cherished dish of fried chicken, it took Sanders more than a little bit of time to find his niche in the world.

Sanders would serve in the United States Army but was never actually a Colonel. That name would be bestowed upon him as an honorary title by the Governor of Kentucky.

Before selling the franchise rights to his famous chicken recipe to Pete Harman of Salt Lake City, Sanders was a little bit busy.

He spent a lot of his time working with the railroad, where he was employed as a conductor, cleaning train ash pans, a blacksmith’s helper, and laborer.

Before he ever sold one piece of chicken from his service station, he was a farm hand, lawyer, sold insurance, painted horse carriages, a ferry boat company operator, secretary at a chamber of commerce, lamp maker, and tire salesmen.

After selling chicken from his service station in 1930, it would take other two-plus decades before the first Kentucky Fried Chicken was established.

It took Sanders a long time before he found success through his food and he should serve as the perfect example that high school graduates don’t need to figure out their future right away.

Although it’s been quite a while since I graduated, I still remember the pressure of everyone trying to figure out what they were going to do with their lives. It almost felt like my entire class had to figure it out before we walked across the stage to receive our diploma.

The truth is you don’t have to figure it out right away at all. If you need to take some time and try some different things -- DO IT! Sanders sure did, and it worked out okay for him.

At the time of graduation, I was very nervous for my classmates who didn’t know what they were going to do, and now I am envious because this was completely fine.

I’m well aware that most people will not become as famous as Sanders, but that does not mean you can’t.

Success doesn’t always mean the most money or restaurants, it can also be entirely about being happy.

It may take years to obtain someone’s definition of success, and that is completely fine.

Graduation is such an exciting time for students, yet there are also so many nerves associated with it.

Many already have their path lined out, and this is great. It may be a path some will never stray from. Some will wander into a completely different journey.

The next time Sanders pops up on television, use it as a reminder that you don’t have to figure things out right away, or it might just make you hungry and, in that case, get a bucket of chicken.


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