I was always envious of those kids who had parents that would help them with their school fundraisers; mom and dad would happily take the order form to work and guilt various coworkers to plunk down their hard-earned money on the most useless of junk. Be it gift wrap, packages of seeds or the “World’s Finest” chocolate bars, they were always a pain to sell by yourself, most people not even opening the door for you.
But in Oklahoma, Blue and Gold brand sausage…well, that always sold itself.
Hailing from the small town of Jones, Oklahoma, these famed pork products have been the Girl Scout Cookies of chubby band-geeks for well over fifty years. When you presented most locals with the full-color brochure, filled with pictures of the sizzling patties served on a plate, usually next to some eggs and a sprig of parsley, it wasn’t out of the ordinary for them to order four or five rolls at a time.
I personally became acquainted with the product as a young saxophone player at Harding Middle School; it was the spring and we were raising funds for something or another—I can’t remember—but what I will never forget is the way most of the older ladies in my neighborhood would call me to place orders when they heard I was a vendor, mostly from my own Blue and Gold-loving father, who was justifiably proud of me for once in his life.
Founded in the early 60s by an agricultural teacher in Jones as a way to raise money for the school’s chapter of the Future Farmers of America, Blue and Gold was (and is) an above-average pork product, run through the meat grinder and mixed with a genuinely mouthwatering array of spices that truly does have a small-town Okie taste; when it was cooked in your kitchen, possibly paired off with some greasy bread-heels, the whole dang house would smell like a diner for days…
My Blue and Gold sales-career continued on into my freshman year of high school, when we attempted to sell it for competition funds; horrifically, the band department’s freezer where the numerous logs were stored was turned off during spring break, causing a couple of hundred pounds of the pork product to go very bad in the lukewarm temperatures of a powerless refrigerator.
And even though I’ll never forget that smell, it never made me lose my taste for the Blue and Gold.
A couple of years ago, long after I had left school and was well on my way to becoming another corpulent dead man, the woman that I was seeing had a kid that was selling Blue and Gold for their own school fundraiser; besides the fact that I was always trying to impress her, I truly did crave that pork sausage, ordering about five or so rolls from the boy, with the option to purchase more.
(Additionally, by this time, they were also offering thick-sliced bacon and chicken fritters, but I never messed with them. I mean, that’s what Schwan’s is for, right?)
Shortly thereafter, this woman would ghost me, I still had a handful of frozen rolls in my own freezer; at least once a month, in a near cult-like ritual of porcine sacrifice, I would thaw out a brick and prepare a full plate of blissful patties for myself, my shirt covered with grease spatters, oily sweat running down my forehead, belly full of the pork product.
When I had my health issues last year—which, as write this, I recognize I earned, dammit—as I lay unresponsive in a coma, back home my refrigerator was completely cleaned out and the food given away, with the three or four remaining rolls now a long forgotten edible good-time in someone else’s stomach. I hope they cherished it the way I would have.
Just the other day however, I saw a kid in my neighborhood with that same order sheet that I once used, soliciting for Blue and Gold and, believe me, as much as I wanted just one roll of the sausage goodness, I turned my head and shed a tear as I walked the other way, left with only the memories of each pan-fried medallion-sized cut of pork seared forever into my culinary memories of Oklahoma.
But maybe I should go back and ask him if he’s got turkey sausage…