Sunday Dinner (Re-posted from June 25, 2012)

The Doxology is barely off of my tongue

Shoulders still ablaze from the sizzling streams of daylight pouring through the car windows

Darting from the backseat of the old, yellow Dodge

and scampering to the first clanking, then squeaking gate

racing up the sidewalk and the cracked concrete stairs

Porch.  Living room.  Dining room.

How innocently this banquet lies in waiting

though it has been teasing my mind and palate since the onset of the sermon

Table spilling over with home-cooked devotion

Platters placed purposefully by the experienced hands of the Patriarch and Matriarch

Round chargers layered with ripened, ruby red tomatoes

salted and peppered to perfection

Purple onions, similarly arranged and vying for recognition

Steaming bowls of the garden’s bounty

Sunny squash mingled with bacon and onions that were minced on the striped, wooden cutting board

Pepper-sprinkled, creamy alabaster potatoes

dripping with a russet-hued elixir that was birthed in the worn iron skillet

Golden cornbread with a touch of sugar spooned in

Creamed butter whipped till it curls like a wisp of smoke

Plastic lids removed from blue tubs, revealing faux butter for those who insist upon it

Roasted beef disguised by a mountain of scallions and candied carrots

Fried chicken forming a mountain on a cookie sheet (We are proud Southerners, after all)

Pink roses on a glass canvas

a glass canvas that is filled with iced tea

its sweetness strengthening

as the saccharin tablets are secretly plopped in by tricky tribesmen

unaware of each other’s imbibing intentions

Clunky rectangular hunks of ice stacked upon one another in diverse drinking glasses

Bubbly, flaky peach cobbler

no box in sight (Mrs. Smith is never invited)

No “how-to” booklets or stained pieces of paper needed

They know it all by heart

Chairs of wood and metal congregated in a tight round

Houstonphonebooks stacked high for the diminutive members of the clan

Mismatched plates, glasses, and flatware

but never the mugs

always pale green, Fire King mugs

filled with sugary, beige coffee

brewed in a clear glass percolator

Tell Mel Tormé to scat away

the hi-fi only broadcasts our laughter

The Doxology carries on, everlasting

I lift my pale green, Fire King mug of sugary, beige coffee

and breathe the scent in, deeply

Reminiscing.   Musing.  Evoking those flashes of memory

and satisfaction

and home-cooked devotion

and hunger for that same old repast

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