Sept 21, 2007
Keep Your Fork!
….. My quite busy Saturday ended with me standing under “a canopy of diamonds” after “keeping my fork”. I infiltrated a “sleeper cell” of Real Americana. Earlier I had done my tailgate gallivanting, hugged some new buddies,ured fifteen minutes of gridiron malaise, and had my malaise replaced by “the hope that springs eternal”. The ever bitter bandwagon bunch that lurks in the shadowy back alleys of Kenan Stadium will definitely not find BCS glory in ’07.
Going into Week Four of College Football and Ted Roof has more W’s than Charlie Weiss. A Gridiron Apocalypse is nigh.
Unlike some media pundits, I do not run from my printed past. I thought “we” would see The Pale Rider’s Kenan win streak extend to two. Alas, t’was not to be. The 2007 Virginia football team ain’t real good but they are better than “we” are THIS YEAR.
The first quarter of yesterday’s UNC v UVa game was all the reminder I need to why I always try to sit with good friends so I have a back-up to on-field unpleasantness. Yesterday it was “The Bomars” who prevented me from casting myself over the railing of Kenan’s upper deck as a human sacrifice to the college football gods. I like to think I provided the same stop gap to Gayle & Margie.
Meanwhile four rows back old GoHeels colleague Art Chansky pulled a game boy out of his rucksack and lost himself in a bout of Super Mario.
Alas, while Jesus’ resurrection only took three days, Butch faces a more daunting task. Those goggle-eyed loonies and eternal optimists who “saw” a 6-7-8 win season for the 2007 Tar Heels are grinding down their back molars after Week Three. Which is for sure less painful than whatever Fightin’ Irish faithful are doing these days. Three of The Four Horsemen have pulled up lame and Elmer Layden’s saddle cinch just snapped.
A few more comments about football at the bottom here …. But lets shift to a more pleasant subject.
About six weeks ago I got an e-mail invite to a Sept 16 Brunswick Stew fundraiser at a church near Hillsborough. The invite came from “CD” a long time, albeit quiet, BLS reader. As a regular reader, CD knew my affection for the holy concoction. The timing was harmonious with my schedule so I agreed to stop by. I long ago learned that life’s greatest pleasures emerge from its least complicated situations. It ain’t that hard to be happy if ya just go with the flow some times. Once again I struck pay dirt in a glorious old-fashion fashion.
The New Sharon United Methodist Church is “a country church” about four miles east of Hillsborough NC. It is kinda near the outskirts of Derm but a bazillion miles apart from the derm and strang of that socio-cultural war zone.
Remember now, we regularly attend a mini-mega church. Leakin’ Leon’s Sunday School class at Providence Baptist probably has more members than the NSUMC total congregation. But I betcha those NSUMC folks can make “a joyful noise” when the Spirit moves’em. Which I expect is pretty regularly.
You can tell something about a country church by the size of the oak trees out front and how recently mowed the parking lot field is. NSUMC wasn’t built “yesterday” but its congregation is not a bunch of geezers waiting for the roll to be called up yonder … The Spirit is Alive & Well just a few miles outside of Hillsborough NC.
CD’s invite and subsequent reminders stressed that NSUMC’s Brunswick Stew was not Brunswick “Soup”. As an afficianado I understood the difference. I could, and did, eat it with a fork. Actually, as great as the Brunswick Stew was, the chicken stew (‘n dumplings) mighta even been better. Actually as great as both the Brunswick and Chicken stews were ….. the whole experience was simply AWESOME BABY …. AWESOME!
CD’s dad has been a member of NSUMC’s stew fixin’ team for well over 35 years. They use the same big cast iron kettles …. But have replaced the wood fire with propane with no noticeable downturn in product quality. CD has been “coming home” for this weekend for over 25 years. (Note: Refer to the Esicar’s column for “coming home” scenario).
CD had told me his dad would be at the “take home tent” out front where folks pick up quarts of stew and fixins to, duh, “take home”. I approached, introduced myself and CD’s dad told me I’d find CD in the fellowship hall …. “he’ll be the one with the biggest appetite”.
I paid my $7.50 to the church ladies out front and walked into the fellowship hall chock-a-block filled with folding tables covered with meat paper tablecloths and about every table filled with folks vying for CD’s reputation as having “the biggest appetite”.
If I say I thought I had passed thru a Twilight Zone time warp into “a living Mayberry sound stage” please realize that is a VERY high compliment.
With divine guidance and the help of one of the church deacons I found CD and his lady friend. Though we had only “met” in cyber space CD knew it was “me”.
Two hours later we had nearbout solved all of Western Civilization’s most pressing issues as relates to Butch’s resurrection of Tar Heel grid fortunes and Ol’ Roy’s reloading of UNC’s hoop juggernaut. The words “Nifong” nor “Barry Saunders” never came up in our conversation ….. further proof we were in God’s House. …. at least one of His “country homes”.
I sat down and a plastic cup of sweet tea appeared as bowls of fixins family-style were shuffled around the table for me to ladle out. If I had been some transplanted “Yankee” I mighta been taken aback by the overt hospitality of the whole affair. But bein’ a small town Southern boy I was “somewhere between euphoria and LaGrange”.
Between forkfuls of the stews and CD and my non-stop conversing, IT happened. I had never given IT a thought until she said IT.
A for real Thelma Lou asked if she could take my scraped clean plate and asked if I “would like dessert” then she said IT.
“Keep Your Fork”
HOLY MACKERAL ….. that magic phrase in the world of covered-dish suppers hit me like a thunderbolt. In a world pretty much out-of-control and up-to-its-neck in “they hate us so we hate them” and “rampant hedonism” and with “no holds barred lunacy” the order of the day ….. a church lady at NSUMC politely reminded me to “keep my fork”.
It was not a “Road to Damascus” experience because, thankfully, I am not a cyber-Saul persecuting the Christians. I’m just a backslidin’ Internet Legend who sometimes forgets to lay down his broadsword and “keep his fork” …. because The Best Is Yet To Come.
The “Peter Paul Pie” was long gone but I had a slice of chess pie with a scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream on top. The ice cream melted while I assured CD that despite losing the Love kid to UCLA, Ol’ Roy would find a way to stay competitive for a few more seasons.
Me and CD pretty much shut down the Fellowship Hall around 9 o’clock. His dad handed me a quart of stew to “take home”. We dotted a few “i’s in the parking area and I walked towards the F-150 BobLeeMobile silhouetted all alone in the mowed field ….
I could say I’m not sure “what” caused me to “look up” but since the past three hours had pretty much all been “a God Thing” I gotta figure He was still hurling those thunderbolts at me.
In a country church yard, four-five miles outside Hillsborough and about a bazillion miles removed from the daily crap of America 2007 I looked up and beheld
“…. An Ebony Canopy of Sparkling Diamonds”.
Five hours earlier as 45,000 grim-faced Tar Heel football fans filed grumbly out of Kenan Stadium, I had asked Margie Bomar if her husband, children and grandchildren were “healthy and happy”. Margie Bomar hugged me and said indeed they were. She and I and Gayle agreed despite an exciting 2nd half comeback coming up 2 point short …. We have much to be thankful for.
….. and all that was BEFORE I was reminded to “Keep My Fork” …. in a country churchyard just a few miles outside of Hillsborough …. under “an ebony canopy of sparkling diamonds”.
Why do you think it’s called “Peter Paul Pie”?