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Chittlins, fatback and precious memories

It is interesting how easily our kids’ projects can become such a part of our lives.  This is Addy’s second year of showing pigs; she did a good job last year and I was glad she was still interested in doing it again this year.  I had opportunity to impress her the other day when the pigs were weighed in.  As the two of us traveled to the ag barn for the event we discussed what we thought her pig—that she calls Oreo—would weigh.  I gave her my estimate:  122 pounds.  She had quite a look on her face when the scales verified my guess:  122 pounds on the dot!  Maybe old Papa was around pigs more in the old days than she realized.  In reality, it was probably more chance than skill that I guessed the porker’s weight right, but she does not need to know that!

During the course of a telephone visit with my mother the other day, I told her about Addy’s show pig and what a fine shoat it is.  Her response had nothing to do with showmanship, blue ribbons, prizes, or recognition; she was more interested in a more personal idea for pigs as she stated, “Some good old hog meat sure would be good!”  I concurred with her on that thought, for I had been looking at a whole country ham hanging in the grocery store for the past few weeks that I really had a taste for.  I was awaiting the results of my annual blood work to make sure my numbers were not off the chart before I made the purchase.  I finally got my results and they were not off the chart—they were near the top corner, but still on the chart—but alas, by then the ham was gone!  (I wonder if my doctor bought it to keep me from eating it?)    

My discussion with my mother continued as we talked about country ham, fat back, and gravy.  But she didn’t stop there.  She went on to add, “I would like some chittlins.”  (I know that is not the proper spelling but if I pronounced it as “chitterlings” she might think I had become a city boy, and I wouldn’t want to disappoint her with that thought!)  A whole conversation unfolded about such fine southern cuisine that included memories from the past that I will choose not to share further in this public platform.

I am grateful for the memories that I have been able to build over the decades and I trust that our children and grandchildren are storing away memories in their minds that they will someday bring back to the surface as precious jewels of life.  Gale and I occasionally talk about our desire for the little ones to recall with joy the times spent at our house.  I listened with satisfaction the other day as one of our grandchildren talked about sharing meals with some of her relatives.  She went on to say that the food is good but it just doesn’t taste like Nana’s.  That does not mean that we hope for them to appreciate and remember others less than they do us, but we do hope they will always have a special place for us in their hearts and minds that include unique times that they associate with us as a family.

In Philippians 1, the apostle Paul stated, “I thank my God every time I remember you” (verse 3, New International Version).  As we journey through this season of celebration, let us give God thanks for the memories He has allowed us to build together.  Some of those memories surround those who have gone into eternity and certainly that includes a degree of sadness. Yet at the same time we should strive to find joy in the midst of the pain as we cherish the times and experiences that God has given us.  As we recall memories of both those still with us and those who have gone on, may we practice what Scripture states:  “I thank my God every time I remember you.”