“You and Maddy?” Good luck with that.” My daughter practically laughed as she got up from the table.
I frowned at her in great disappointment. “Why not ‘me and Maddy’? She’s fun and positive and energetic and I really got along with her when we talked. I could easily see us become best friends.”
Em just rolled her eyes. “OK, Mom, whatever.”
I reached out and caught her arm. “Wait, don’t give me ‘whatever’, tell me why you’re so (annoyingly) negative about me and Maddy becoming friends."
“Don’t worry about it. Who am I to tell you who your friends should be? I gotta go.” Em tried to pull away from me.
“No, if you know something, tell me - please?” I implored.
And then she looked me in the eyes with, was that compassion?
“Mom, Maddy’s a greeter, a welcomer, maybe she thinks she's an evangelist. But really she's more like a movie set. From the front everything looks real, but you can’t go inside because it’s just a front.”
I thought about this and part of me knew it was true, but I was so hungry to develop a social circle like I’d had in the old community, I protested. “No, Em, I think she and I really connected.”
“Mom, how can you be so blind? It was so easy for her to grab you and pull you in. Now her job’s done and she can move on to her next conquest. You’re nothing but SPAM to her!” Em practically spit out that last line.
We just looked at each other.
I opened my mouth, but nothing came out. I thought - SPAM ...like that canned meat, almost as likeable as Pigs feet jelly ....that SPAM?
“What?” I finally managed to ask.
“SPAM - junk email,” Em explained. “You see it, you glance over it, you might even like that it’s there, but you’re not seriously interested. You have more important things to do.”
Ouch! That hurt. “The Pastor adores Maddy. I want to get to know her.” I insisted. This time Em didn’t say, ‘whatever’.
“Oh, Mom, I guess it’s like you always say to me, time will tell. She is energetic and positive and I know you miss your old friends. I’m sorry I reacted like that.”
Now I smiled at my daughter. “Thanks, Em. Do you want to come to the women’s group with me?”
“No - that would be weird. Besides, I have homework.” She grabbed a couple cookies and left me sitting there.
As I drove to the meeting, I went over our conversation, knowing Em was .., hoping she was.., OK, afraid Em was right, but how could she be?
I wasn’t even through the doorway of the church when I saw her, followed by her adoring group of friends. I hurried to join them.
“Maddy,” I called. “Your directions were perfect! I...”
“Oh Cutie, I’m glad they worked for you,” she smiled.
“Yeah, they did, I...” but I was cut off.
“Maddy, can we borrow your props for the Christmas play - they look so authentic!”
“Of course, Sweetie.” Maddy never turned to see who asked. She just smiled that same smile.
I tried again. “I had to wait at that light....” I stopped midsentence when a member of the group pushed past me.
“Maddy, my Robby loved those cookies you made last week. Could I get the recipe?”
“Sure , if I can remember what they were!”
“That light that you...” my voice trailed off as I watched Maddy move happily down the hall. She seemed to like that we, all of us, were here, but she wasn’t seriously interested.
We were just like SPAM.
And suddenly I had a ridiculous desire to yell, “Maddy, would you like my recipe for pigs feet jelly?” Maybe I can email it. That would really be 'spammy'! I smiled as I turned to look for the room where the other women’s group was meeting.
Pigs Feet Jelly
2 lbs pigs feet, split
4 whole cloves garlic
3 sweet onions
2 t salt
1 t black pepper
dash of sage
½ t paprika
Singe feet and wash. Cook all ingredients together for 6-7 hrs, reducing liquid to ½. what you started with. Place meat (which should fall off bones) in soup bowls. Strain broth over, almost filling bowls. Chill in refrigerator until congealed.
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