Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Taste (07/15/10)
TITLE: Country PK
By Gary Morris
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There is a small brown block house facing the south next to highway seventeen in rural Yarbo, Alabama. About one hundred feet from the front porch of the little country home sit’s a small block church where the local community gathers. Just behind the church, bordered by a rusting chain link fence, lies the church cemetery where the patrons of the church are put to rest. Next to the highway, for all the passersby to see, stands the church sign. Framed in cinder block, it proudly announces “Yarbo Assembly of God”. All the worship times are listed below, and in bold black lettering is the pastor’s name.
In the early seventies my father’s name was listed there. Yes, Rev. Curtis Morris was the proud pastor of this small community church where a large part of the congregation was related to me. The fondest memories of my childhood were staged on this very piece of property. My dad, mom, three siblings and I learned a lot about life in that little block house.
Mom was the best of cooks. With six people gathering at the table each evening she had plenty of practice. I can almost taste the delicious country cooking from her table now. Warm home-made biscuits with hot tomato gravy, fried pork chops and greens of some sort were a favorite of mine. With my father being a preacher, we had fried chicken on a regular basis. Mashed potatoes and gravy, fresh peas and beans would always be a nice side for the chicken.
I will never forget mom making “Martha Washingtons” at Christmas. It seemed she would make them by the barrels. One particular batch of her “Martha Washington’s” I remember very well. My siblings and I played outdoors while mom worked on her candy. (In the south you can do that at Christmas time.) My mind wasn’t on games we were playing. All I could think of was how good that candy was!
I would peek through the door and when mom’s back was turned, I would sneak in and grab a handful of the cooling, but yet warm candy. Out the door I would dash to hide and enjoy my spoil! They were the best! Very soon I would overcome that bit of perplexing guilt and sneak in again to gather more spoil.
Soon and very soon I had had all the candy I could stand and needed some sweet tea to wash it all down. I walked into the kitchen and fetched a dark plastic cup. Looking around the kitchen I spotted the tall Tupperware pitcher that always proudly contained mom’s delicious sweet tea. I poured a cupful and without looking I turned the cup up with all my taste buds standing at attention ready to enjoy the sweet gush of cold tea.
It an instant my taste buds sent an alarming signal to my brain! “That’s not tea and it’s definitely not sweet!” I ran for the door spitting and sputtering! Soon I was on my knees in the back yard gagging! Mom finally caught up with me and rubbed my back as she laughed. When she saw that I would survive, she laughed so hard that she found it difficult to announce that she was soaking the pitcher with Clorox to remove the stains! Yes, I will never forget that taste. And for some reason, it also turned me against “Mom’s Martha Washington’s”.
While mom fed us with delicious country cooking, dad fed us in the little country church with the sweet words of life. Although he preached hell, fire and brimstone, it brought about a sweet refreshing. His sermon preparation often took longer that mom’s meal preparations. I can almost hear him now in the church praying as I did while my siblings and I played in the yard. He drew from a deep well the sweet waters of the Word.
Today mom resides in a personal care home where she constantly tells me of spending her days “dragging limbs down that old country road and trying to clean up that mountain side.” She remembers us all by name, but thankfully she can’t remember the pain that led to dad’s passing. She still waits on him to call. However, the newest marker in the old cemetery notifies the visitors that my dad’s remains are planted beneath.
I’ll wipe my tears now and smile as I remember the savor of mom’s country cooking and the Saviour of my dad’s sermon.
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