Friday, November 17, 2006

Where's the Gravy?

This was written by my dad...

Where's the Gravy!?!

As I was pondering the great issues of life while sweeping up the crumbs from last night's youth meeting, I was overwhelmed by a sense of laughter and joy by the memories of my family at Thanksgiving. And the world instantly became a better place. You would have to know my family. My grandparents were immigrants. Granted, it was just from the mountains of Tennessee to the factories of the Midwest, but immigrants just the same. As with most depression era families in Appalachia, times were hard for my grandparents. They, like untold numbers of other families, lived off the land and squeezed every drop they could squeeze from anything that could be squeezed. And what comes out when you squeeze is called gravy. Yes, the very nectar of heaven, itself. Sauce to be savored. Syrup to be saved. Juice to be enjoyed. The foundational and single most important element of any and every good and descent meal - animal squeezings mixed with flour. Gravy. Just the sound of the word makes me hungry. I was an adult before I learned you could actually eat mashed potatoes without it. Who knew?

Our family Thanksgivings always included football, plenty of gossip, a good nap or two, usually an argument, and a celebration of God's goodness around a table filled with food. And the centerpiece was never a turkey, for most of my family doesn't even like turkey. But we always had a turkey, because we needed something out of which to squeeze gravy… usually in various colors, viscosities, and flavors. However, my favorite Thanksgiving- and Thanksgiving story- was different. As we sat around the festive table at my aunt's house; and after whoever was considered the most spiritual that particular year offered thanks to God; and after the mashed potatoes had made the rounds and were neatly piled on everyone's plate with the traditional divot-for-the-gravy expertly carved on top; and after several people asked for the gravy to be passed; and after someone impatiently asked "Who has the gravy?"; and after my aunt nervously, and with fear and inquisition in her tone, said, "Who made the gravy?"; and when eye met eye and neck hairs bristled; then and only then did we realize the world, as we knew it, had ended. And the gravy gods cried. There… was… no… gravy!

To this day, my dad won't admit that it happened. Says he doesn't remember it that way. Apparently, it's too painful. The animal drippings were wasted that year, and the cycle of life was broken. There weren't very many family Thanksgivings after that. Many of the cousins moved away. The grandparents - who loved us with all their hearts, by the way - were soon to pass into eternity. The younger generation began to marry and gravitate to their own family traditions. But we went out with a bang! Isn't that the way we are? We live in the most affluent society the world has ever seen. God has granted to those who believe an eternity with His Dear Son in Heaven. And yet, we seem to desire more. But what could be 'more' than God's gifts of blessing? Everything else is but gravy… the worthless juice of an animal whose goose is cooked.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving. Remember to be thankful for the gift of God's Son. And don't worry about the gravy.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sara... you should be a writer! That was so funny! Miss you-Kasey