Covered-Dish Supper

Covered-dish supper: (n) meal to which guests contribute food, as casseroles.

 When I was nineteen years old I had no job, but I had a music group.

It was constantly brought to my attention that I could have a job and still sing and play with my combo on weekends.

I did not favor that idea.funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

I thought the only way to be a professional musician was to insist it was your profession, long before your bank account confirmed it. Money was infrequent and when it arrived, we were so hungry for it that often we blew it on a desire rather than what the bills might require.

Because music groups were plentiful in that time, no one wanted to offer hard, cold cash for playing songs—even if it stimulated great enthusiasm, joy and clapping. What was offered—and may I say, even touted by a sponsor desiring to schedule our musical abilities—was a covered-dish supper.

In other words, after we got done singing, we would go down into the basement of the church and eat the food that had been brought by the concert attendees for just such an occasion.

Certain dishes were pretty well guaranteed:

There was always fried chicken (even if you were sure it came out of a bucket instead of a frying pan.)

Macaroni and potato salads were plentiful.

Someone always experimented with a rice dish, putting in some teriyaki sauce to give it “flare.”

Brownies, cakes of all sorts, pies, garlic bread, four or five concoctions with spaghetti, and once in a while some grilled hot dogs or hamburgers would appear.

By the time we got done singing, we were hungry. Also, we were starved because during the week we had not necessarily been able to procure grocery money to satisfy our growling innards.

So we learned two very important procedures:

First of all, you get more food when you compliment the food. If we found out who cooked what, we could center our appreciation in on that person and pretty soon they would bring their pot over and dump the contents onto our plates to “make sure we got our share.”

The second thing we put into practice, which took some trial and error, was to ask the smallest (and usually feminine) member of our band to walk over and chat with the ladies, asking for recipes. Well, these fine women looked at the dainty, somewhat underfed waif of a girl and loaded her down—not only with index cards containing the ingredients for their delicacies, but also boxes of leftover everything.

So even though nobody ever gave us money, we walked out of covered dish suppers with full bellies and enough food to last for two or three days thereafter.

Now, some people might think this is a terrible way to live, and I certainly can appreciate their point of view.

But I, for one, think it is quite charming to have a remembrance in my life when I literally did live hand to mouth.

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Broker

j-r-practix-with-border-2

Broker: (n) a person who buys and sells goods or assets for others.

There’s a certain male body type, where there’s enough blubber in the belly to put a lot of pink in the cheeks.

Such was Mick. He was my broker.Dictionary B

Now, before you get all impressed and everything, it was a very temporary situation in my life, when an inheritance enabled me to have money to invest if I so desired.

I was intrigued.

So I went to see a broker. I happened to land in Mick’s office.

He was a delightful young man–straight out of college–and had certainly aspired to something larger than his six-by-eight-foot office space. I was never sure what Mick wanted to be, but was pretty darned positive it was not a broker.

I explained to him that I felt the benefit of this influx of cash was to be able to live off the interest of the money, therefore not needing, for a season, to “labor in the fields.”

Now, Mick was new at this–so I was fairly certain that he had no idea whether my request was plausible or not, but he also had no intention of having me leave his cubicle without choosing him as my “guy.”

So with all of his plump self and ruby cheeks, he said, “Sure.”

It was perfect. He wanted to lie and I wanted to believe him.

But the truth is, the monthly interest from my investments never quite covered my personal lifestyle. Even though I was not angry at Mick because of the shortage, after two or three months he stopped taking my phone calls.

The experience did help me come to the conclusion that money is only valuable when it’s working.

When it lays around waiting for opportunity, like everything else in life, it is soon unemployed.

 

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Thank you for enjoying Words from Dic(tionary) —  J.R. Practix 

 

 

Abeokuta

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Abeokuta: a city in southwestern Nigeria, capital of the state of Ogun; pop. 308,800

You see, all he wanted to do was give out Bibles to natives. He certainly wasn’t interested in acquiring finance. His only concern was to provide the Word of God to lost souls in Nigeria who did not have any way of learning the truth of the salvation plan because they lacked a book to explain it to them.

He wrote me a lengthy letter to share his vision and also reinforce his credentials, listing numerous universities and organizations which were most definitely acquainted with his passion.

I was about eight or nine long paragraphs into this plea from Africa, when suddenly my the writer pointed out to me that even though he was not interested in money, a certain amount of cash would be necessary–along with the shipment of Bibles–as a tariff on all products from America, even if they were in black covers stamped with the word “Holy.”

So along with sending him a hundred Bibles, it would be necessary for me to include a wire transfer of $250 to cover those taxes and charges, so as to ensure that some desperately befuddled Nigerian would receive illumination from on high.

As a courtesy, he included the procedure by which I should transfer these funds–as soon as possible–even before the Bibles were shipped! After all, who knows when the monies would  be needed?

I do believe he was from Abeokuta.

I must confess to you, heathen that I am, I passed on this remarkable opportunity, kept my bank account intact and was forced to resort to a simple prayer for all those potentially damned Nigerians, who would be vacant of redemption due to the absence of my Bible shipment.

Such events do not make me cynical. They actually serve to make me more voracious in my appetite to find the authentic.