My family joined other relatives for a country church’s annual fried chicken dinner. Yum. You know the menu – wilted green beans with fatty ham pieces, mashed potatoes with beige gravy, lumpy (because it’s homemade) applesauce, and hot, freshly fried chicken. Huge pieces of homemade pies and cakes round out the “all you can eat” extravaganza. Served family style (continually refilled serving dishes on the table), no one goes home hungry. Or comfortable. Moms encourage children and their fathers to eat one more piece because “there won’t be anything at home tonight.”
My then sister-in-law (we’ll call her SIL) joined us one August for the country church’s fried chicken dinner. SIL was of slight build and carefully maintained her nearly 100 pound weight. Eventual divorce caused a rift with the family that I don’t think was related to the chicken dinner.
We sit and enjoy seeing familiar faces while eating, as do countless other families seated at long tables in the large church hall. The food was delicious. And then my mom notices…
SIL wasn’t eating. Not a single leg or wing, not a spoonful of mashed potatoes with beige gravy, not a forkful of wilted beans. Not one lump of applesauce. How could she sit there with us as a mere observer of this enthusiastic consumption of country church fare?
Of course mom inquired as to why SIL was not eating.
I’m not hungry.
But I paid for your dinner ticket.
But I’m not hungry.
My mom slowly, and without any fanfare as to not attract any attention…pulls a little plastic sandwich bag from her purse. She passes it under the table, to SIL.
“What’s this bag for?” SIL shrieks, waving that little plastic sandwich bag in the air, while attracting very much attention.
It was to hold a piece of chicken for SIL to eat at home later.
“But I’m not hungry.”
“But I paid for your ticket.”
Chances are my brother ate that wing, maybe even in the car on their way home. Quite possibly that fried chicken dinner did have something to do with their divorce, but no one is sure.
Regardless, if you get the opportunity to revisit a country church fried chicken dinner with all the fixings, bring the family and arrive hungry.
And even though the fried chicken dinner rules are to eat at the table, maybe take along a small plastic sandwich bag for a wing or leg, just in case your SIL isn’t hungry.
Because you paid for her ticket.