Cutting the cow

It’s not a code for something dirty, I swear. Well, it was dirty but not in the good kind. Today I helped my mother, brother and friend of the family, cut a cow we had butchered a week ago.

After dry aging for the week, we cut it down into tasty bits and pieces to be enjoyed at later dates. Think of it as supermarket to the extreme. When we got to the garage turned butcher shop (that’s right, that’s how we roll) there were four very large sections (quarters) hanging from what I can only imagine was a requisitioned swing set.

For three and a half hours we cut and wrapped the meat. The thing is, this was not an entirely new experience for me. In high school, I worked at a small grocery store in town. It was this great old grocery with pink and white check patterned floors and isle signs the owner had put up when he opened in 1954. I was a check-out girl. All the girls were check-out girls, and all the boys were stock boys. A boy couldn’t check you out and a girl couldn’t stock shelves, that would just be wrong.

After a few years I moved up to meat room. I don’t know if it was because I deserved it or if I was one of the only people who could handle the butchers, Big John and Little John a father and son duo who were both rather…odd. Little John wasn’t quite normal, he had a way of looking at you that made you squirm. Big John was a war veteran who had a very distinct view of the world. Conversation was never lacking.

I thought of the two today as we were wrapping the meat. I remembered how Big John would smoke a cigarette as he worked. It would burn down and down and down, I’m sure there were quite a few burgers in Huntington that had a little something special in the mix.

Big John passed away a long time ago and Little John, I have no idea. Regardless, I wish the two John’s well. I will always remember them and their quirky personalities.


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