Stay with me on this, folks. This past week we mourned the passing of Truett Cathy, founder of Chick Fil-A, and by all accounts one of the nicest and most generous human beings ever. More on that in a minute.
I wanted this week’s FNWGG to be a tribute of sorts to Mr. Cathy. Because he is Southern, and he “invented” the chicken sandwich, the first song that popped in my head was “Dixie Chicken”. I know, I know– that is embarrassingly cheesy. So bad, in fact, that I thought it would be disrespectful to Mr. Cathy, and that is exactly opposite of what I intended. However, I did a quick internet search and found a wonderfully played and completely non-cheesy rendition of the song, performed by the man who wrote it—Lowell George—and his band—Little Feat. More on that in minute, but first back to Mr. Cathy.
I have met Truett Cathy myself, and had a very brief but pleasant conversation with him. He was polite, humble, congenial. People who have met Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson and had brief but pleasant conversations with them have come away thinking that they were polite and congenial men. How is that looking right now? Truett Cathy might have been a monster behind closed doors. I seriously doubt it. His humble and generous demeanor and persona may have been phony facades constructed to conceal a bitter and greedy and spiteful old man. I seriously doubt it. I spent a very brief amount of time with the man himself, but I have spent a great deal of time on the campus and in the offices of his company’s headquarters just outside of Atlanta. I am fortunate to work for a company that does over one and a half million dollars a year of business with the Chick Fil-A Corporate office. I am on their campus several times a month. I have met countless employees. I have had lengthy conversations with some Chick Fil-A franchisees. Nothing I have ever heard or seen in that place or from those people has given me one iota of doubt that that the friendly, courteous and appreciative attitude is truly genuine and heartfelt, and that it comes from the very top.
All of you have seen the giant billboards advertising for Chick Fil-A, featuring what a friend of mine calls “them no-spellin’-ass cows”. One of those billboards is on the right side of I-75 North, just south of Turner Field. When I passed it this morning it had a new message on it from the cows: “Thanx Truett. Weel Nevur Forgit U”. Ain’t gonna lie—I choked up when I saw it. Stuck in traffic in downtown Atlanta, tears rolling down my face.
Little Feat was formed in 1975 by Lowell George, a talented singer, guitarist, and songwriter who had been a member of Frank Zappa’s band, The Mothers of Invention. They played a blend of country, blues, and folk music and were fairly successful for a time. This performance is from 1975, when Little Feat was featured on a German (?!!) television show called Musikladen. Lowell’s vocals are pleasantly understated, Paul Barrere does some nice picking, and Lowell George himself does some nice slide guitar work. While on tour in 1979, Lowell George was found dead in his hotel room. The official cause of death was listed as heart attack.
Rest in peace, Truett and Lowell. I hope you are having a pleasant conversation with each other right about now.