By Dr. Kenneth Love
When I was growing up in East Texas and attending a certain church, the church would, on occasion, have 3:00 p.m. services, whereby, there was a preacher shouting in the pulpit while simultaneously drinking iced water, the choir was singing at the top of its collective lung, and all us kids wanted was for it to be over quickly so we could get in the church’s kitchen and get some of that WONDERFUL greasy fried chicken.
You know, the kind of chicken fried so well with the crunchy skin that sounds like Cap’n Crunch or Doritos in your mouth?, mashed potatoes only a farmer could love, brown gravy, Sunbeam or Mrs. Baird dinner rolls (tooth-breaking hardened, if you don’t mind please), Kool-Aid (so much sugar in it that you tremble in fear with each slurp), and whatever other sweets we could get that could help us get Diabetes even faster when we got in our 50s. Yum, yum…I’m getting hungry just reminiscing about it as I prepare my 3rd Insulin shot of the day.
Anyway, there was this sizeable (and, I do mean sizeable) church lady who the church, regrettably, put in charge of the food. Her name was Ms. Elizabeth, and she unaffectionately became known as the “Gestapo food gatekeeper.”
Ms. Elizabeth always had a mean, angry, and scary expression on her face. But her expression would especially become more pronounced when it came time to serve the food. She would often give us the dirty evil eye. Sometimes, she would even bless us with 2 dirty evil eyes at a 45-degree angle, depending on how high our plates were piled during our initial pass through the food line. And, she would give us both “evil eyes” when we would return for 2nd helpings (a return for a 3rd helping was unheard of as it would likely guarantee no survivors and would likely be met with sudden death). And if we had not been in church, she likely would have even been inspired to elevate her middle arthritic finger (or, perhaps, both middle arthritic fingers) as well in the interest of asserting her disagreement with our repeated presence.
During our 2nd pass through, she would admonish us for being so greedy and attempt to shoo us away and lock the kitchen down so that she could ensure that she would be able to take a healthy size and portion of the food home with her, and I suppose so that she wouldn’t need to cook…all week.
Anyway, I was just thinking about those wonderfully pleasant Sunday afternoons and those beautiful experiences that I always eagerly looked forward to sharing with Ms. Elizabeth, in particular. As such, I was inspired to write the below scribbling titled “THIS & THAT” in my remembrance of Ms. Elizabeth’s accomplished “food gatekeeping” skills and her indelible speech as we kids would, nervously, come through the food line with sweaty palms and trembling hands.
“THIS & THAT” (Inspired by Ms. Elizabeth)
(a truly sad but sadly true story)
By Dr. Kenneth Love
You can have some of this,
But can have none of that,
And if you take some of that,
You can’t have some of this,
Better slowly eat this,
‘Cause there ain’t no more,
And when you finish all of that,
You better hit the door,
‘Cause all the rest of this,
And most or all of that,
Is coming home with me,
And that is where it’s at,
Now SCAT! Young’uns!
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