Never Let a Skinny Baptist Bless the Food

dam thoughts, barry currin, beaverdamusa.comSoutherners hate each other’s football teams, despise political opponents and will come to blows over what F-O-R-D really stands for.

But despite our passionate differences, there is one place where we can all find common ground: the covered dish meal. You may call this blissful occurrence dinner on the ground or a potluck supper, but it’s still the same. Though most commonly associated with church, the covered dish meal can happen in lots of places. I seem to gravitate to groups that put on such delightful events.

I ask you to visualize four folding tables sagging under the bounty of fried chicken, barbecue, baked beans, potato salad, banana pudding, etc., etc. The perfect marriage of savory and sweet smells, the steam rising from the Corning Ware dishes with the blue flower pattern, and the condensation trailing down the sweet tea pitcher all work in harmony to create a sensory treat. And it is obviously a divine event, because somehow, those flimsy paper plates rarely ever fail, even when cousin Bubba’s leaning tower of food defies all the laws of physics.

And as it should be, no covered dish meal has ever started in the history of the South without the food first being blessed. It is a truly special ritual we should never take for granted. Over the years, I have learned one thing about the blessing, though:

Never let a skinny Baptist bless the food.

I say this for two reasons. First, I want somebody blessing my food who looks like he has been to more covered dish meals than I have. I want to see some girth on the man (because it’s always a man) who is in charge of firing the starting gun. That way I know he means business. Second, any Baptist will tell you they can be long-winded. I have lots of Baptist friends, and I have yet to see one at Olive Garden before 12:30 on a Sunday. They will tell you the same thing.

Read last week’s Dam Thoughts:
“Watching ‘Those People’ at the Beach”

I can almost hear the salmonella cheering when the person blessing the food gets about 3 minutes into the prayer and says something like, “As Paul wrote in his first letter to the Corinthians…”  Meanwhile, Aunt Effie’s banana pudding is flirting with room temperature, and that mystery film has begun to form on top of the green bean juice.  Before a NSACAR race, the guy simply says “Gentlemen, start your engines.” He doesn’t start out with, “I remember my first trip to Talladega…”

I’ve always been a “God is great, God is good” kind of guy.

God is great, God is good

Let us thank Him for our food. Amen

I’ve done just a few public blessings in my day, and I did do better than “God is Great,” but, I tried to keep it reasonable. And, God must have been pleased because my flimsy paper plate defied all the laws of physics as usual.

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