Even if I could choose…

Published 7:26 am Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Bible says that “you can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family.” Just kidding. The Bible does not say that. That’s part of a quote from To Kill a Mockingbird, the great Harper Lee novel that I have not read, but liked the quote.

I thought about it this past weekend as we were having one of our family’s reunions. My father’s side of the family celebrates the branches of his ancestral tree every year on the Sunday before Memorial Day. That’s the day we gather to eat all the food that has been prepared before that day. And like every family reunion I know, there is plenty of food to go along with the great fellowship.

If aliens from outer space landed anywhere near, just to figure out earth, they would radio back to their home planet, “Contact made and if I had to describe these earthlings, I would say that their most abundant exercise is the one that includes the bending of their elbows as they cram food into the aperture just south of their breathing apparatuses.”

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One would think that the menus for the two days and nights were part of the commandments handed down from Mount Sinai. In other words, to change the kinds of foods eaten would be akin to sacrilege. It just is not done!

There must be country-fried “something” on Friday night. It began as simple cube steak. Now, pork and chicken have been added. I’m just waiting for the unfortunate armadillo that gets run over close enough to the house to be skinned, filleted and brought in.

Whatever is fried makes great gravy to which some tomatoes are thrown in and “voila,” there is tomato gravy to slather on biscuits and everything else.

Friday is finished with extended bellies and the commitment to an early rising on Saturday to start the barbecuing. The oak wood has been cut and the fire will start at about sunrise. Daddy is still “the man,” but the responsibility for the outside work has been transferred on down the line.

Keith, my brother, is “straw boss.” For all who might be unfamiliar with that term, don’t worry. The “straw boss” is simply a figure head and only thinks he is in charge. The real work falls to the younger guys: Michael from Jacksonville, Travis from Vidalia, and Rhett from Tampa. Those are some very good boys; men, now, but since I am their uncle, they will always be subservient to me.

There’s inside work, too. Momma has been promoted to “emeritus” status and sister, Kathy, has taken over the inside. It was a natural ascension and she is quite the able one and, as anyone knows, there is room for only one in the kitchen.

By the time midday Sunday arrives, everything but the kitchen sink has been put in a pot and is joined on the bountiful table by great dishes and desserts from the rest of the family branches.

You may ask, “What do you do, Lynn?” That’s easy. I just thank God that I am part of God’s great plan of family and know that even if I could choose my family, it would be the same one I enjoyed this past Sunday!