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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Cobweb

Cobweb: a spider’s web, especially when old and covered with dust

I have watched with some nervous curiosity as a confident individual handles a snake.

They always seem to feel it is hilarious to offer the snake in my direction, waiting for me to step back in horror to ​provide​ them a hideous giggle. But everyone has small “somethings” that turn us into nutty little girls, running away in terror from a bee.

The other night I was sitting in the living room with my son, who is a large, burly man, when he suddenly winced and shimmied in his chair because a fly had come close to his ear. He was adequately embarrassed so I did not tease him, though greatly tempted.

​Yet ​I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone walk through cobwebs with​out​ getting an icky face and batting with their hands in all directions to rid themselves of the sticky strings.

I once owned a house near a lake. I built a beautiful porch. Every morning there was a spider web in one corner. I took a broom and swept it away, but the next day it would be back again. I asked a friend about it and he said, “Well, the only way to get rid of the cobweb is to kill the spider. Otherwise, ​it​ will just continue to do ​its job faithfully.”

After all, a spider web is just a home for a spider, which doubles as a trap for flies so he can get good eats. It’s a rather ingenious ​invention​.

If I could figure out how to turn my house into a trap for hamburgers, steaks and fried chicken, I’d do it, too.​

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Bipartisan

Bipartisan: (adj) involving the agreement or cooperation of two political parties

Dictionary B

Compromise is when one person wants pizza and another desires a hot dog, so it is decided to settle on hamburgers, with the hope that the bun will remind the pizza desirer of his choice and the beef in the hamburger will hearken to the filler in the hot dog.

In other words, no one’s happy but instead, tries to feast on the nobility of negotiation.

Bipartisan is a term that is not used as often in our day and age, mainly because we are convinced of the purity of our motives, and therefore, the divinity of our cause.

Or maybe it’s just that we’re too damn stubborn to sit and listen after we’ve yapped and fillibustered.

But the truth of the matter is, bipartisan is a ridiculous notion put forth by people who spend their day thinking that the world’s problems will be solved by forming an excellent debate.

When one person wants pizza and another wants hot dogs, hamburger is not the answer. It is unsatisfying to both parties and merely provides a surrogate solution, which will continue to be picked at by the participating partisans while they try to get their way.

Truth is never what you think, what I think or even a merger of our thought bubbles.

Truth is something completely erratic, which exists only in the hearts of those who are willing to humbly admit that they do not know what the hell they’re talking about.

Only through conversation can the stupidity of our reasoning be revealed, and then, only through repentance will it ever be abandoned.

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Amish

dictionary with letter A

Amish: (n) the members of a strict Mennonite sect that established major settlements in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and elsewhere in North America from 1720 onward.

I grew up around the Amish.

Which in turn, means they also grew up around me. But you see, there’s the problem. They really didn’t.

They came into town to buy groceries. They were civil. They were kind. They were gentle.

It didn’t bother me that they dressed differently or that they all wore beards. (I guess the women didn’t…)

I wasn’t particularly upset about them living without electricity or the comforts of the modern world. After all, I went to a church camp or two where such restrictions were levied for a week to get us all mindful of things non-electronic.

It’s just that I have grown weary of all human attempts of separation, much to the chagrin of my family and friends who would like to hold on to a nice big slice of the popular culture, so as not to abandon existing relationships with friends who have reserved a lane on the broad path. I just don’t understand how we expect to co-exist–(Oh my dear Lord, forget that. Survive!) if we continue to build smaller and smaller boxes wherein to place those we consider to be more valuable–from our strain of DNA.

I, for one, am tired of the word “culture.” Has anyone noticed that the root of the word is cult? Normally we look down on cults. We consider them to be limiting, segregating and self-righteous. But I guess if you put a u-r-e on the end it’s ok, because it denotes some kind of honor of your ancestors.

I watched a show on PBS about the Cambodian community. Many of the young transplants from Cambodia have begun to hold weekly barbeques, eating only the food of their former land. It makes for a rather bizarre bit of recipes and diet, including cow intestines, bugs and various broths. The young people are very proud of it.

But here’s what I thought: there’s a bunch of people in their graves who would like to tell these youthful adherents that they would gladly have eaten hot dogs, hamburgers and chicken, but could only afford cow intestines. They would like to encourage their offspring to upgrade.

Much of what we call culture were merely survival practices of our forefathers and mothers, who struggled to get us where we are–so we wouldn’t have to partake of their pain.

So be careful.

If you want to live on a farm somewhere, turn off the lights, grow a beard and wear plain clothes, it is America and you are free to do so. But when you include the name of God in it, who claims to be no respecter of persons, and insist that there is some special holiness in doing without, I have to shake my head.

It won’t keep me from buying your food products, though. They’re really quite good.