Mom and Poppa never turned down someone who looked like they needed a meal. And, nearly every Sunday dinner our dining room table included people who had nowhere else to go.
In 1962, Reverend C. J. Garrett lost of the love of his life, Grace. I was 6 when she died, but I remember the two of them together. Reverend Garrett lived alone for a while and then moved (or was moved?) to the Good Samaritan Nursing Home. I remember visiting him there many times. He would hand us kids his Bible and offer $1 if we could find a page that did not have a note that he had written in the margins. He was clear, the page could not simply have a section underlined, it had to have a note he had written. It was fun to try, but I never got a dollar from him! Reverend Garrett was a man of God who read and studied and digested and loved the word of God, his Bible.
Often, Mom and Poppa would invite Reverend Garrett to join us for Sunday dinner. We would pick him up at Good Sam, take him to church, take him back home for lunch, and then deliver him back to Good Sam. It was a fun day for us kids. He was a delightful addition to the table and always added a lot of laughter to the conversation.
We didn’t see him for a while — he had been sick. And then, he was back. A week or two later, Mom and Poppa asked him to Sunday dinner and he was sitting at our table just like always. It was then that I saw what he did with the gravy boat. My mouth flew open and Mom did one of those silent looks my way that said, “Do NOT say a thing.”
Reverend Garrett had filled his plate with delicious food. I would imagine it was roast beef with carrots and potatoes, a green leafy salad, probably two side dishes of vegetables, and a biscuit. The gravy boat was passed to him. He filled the ladle with gravy, raised it over his plate, looked at the food in front of him, and proceeded to cover the entire plate of food with gravy. And, he dipped the ladle and did it again. What shocked me was to see the salad of lettuce, tomatoes, celery, and dressing disappear under spoon after spoon of gravy.
And then, Reverend Garrett astonished me. He sat back and he ate it all. No, that is wrong, he didn’t eat it, he savored it, he enjoyed it, he relished every bite. He ate until his plate was nearly empty and then he took another biscuit and sopped up every morsel that remained. He sat back from the table, patted his belly, smiled and said that he was ready for dessert.
I am not sure that I have ever seen anyone enjoy gravy more! Mom told me later that it might have made him sick that evening. We will never know. But, his pleasure of eating Mom’s homemade gravy was a thing to remember.
This holiday season, don’t forget to enjoy the “gravy” in your life. Heap it on. Relish every moment. Don’t skimp. Don’t feel guilty about enjoying something good. Just sit back and experience the joys of the season.
Ok, I can feel the stares of some of you boring into my head. Yes, we have to be careful about what we eat. And, yes, too much gravy can be bad for you. But, enjoying the good “gravy” this holiday season will give us memories of “gathering together” that we just can’t get when we are stingy or “too careful.” Could we all (myself included) please stop counting the calories for a minute or two and take in the rich things of the season?
Jill (just one of God’s kids)
“This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!!” (Psalm 118:24)