Monday, August 11, 2008

American Fries

There's really nothing more American than a country church pot luck supper. I'd forgotten about these kinds of meals, featuring orange Jell-o with carrot shavings, homemade brownies with frosting, grocery store rolls, twelve kinds of mayonnaise-dressed salads, and heaping platters of fried chicken.

The church ladies keep the groaning buffet table stacked with plates and pasta salad with celery, and blocks of margarine.

It's been a long time since I happened upon food like this. Even before we left for Germany, we spent most summer Sunday afternoons grilling flank steak and marinated asparagus, or sampling Asian pear-apples from the farmers' market, or something lame and yuppie like that.

But yesterday we were invited to join our friend Aaron and his family for a celebration. Aaron was Jeff's roommate in college and beyond. They lived together when neither of them could afford a bed so they slept in sleeping bags on the floor of their summer apartment, both doing shift work to earn money for school. They shared a couple of different rental houses after graduation, when Aaron was a first-year science teacher and Jeff was riding the bus to an office downtown.

We've all been all over the place since then. We missed Aaron's wedding in Guatemala a few years ago, so we really wanted to be there for this big day. I am so proud of him, and so hopeful for his wife and three sons. I don't know anyone kinder or more patient or who appreciates life more than he does.

I spent all afternoon watching Theo chase after a bunch of kids he'd never seen before, but whose parents I'd known since before I knew how to grill asparagus. And I licked the chicken grease off my fingers and remembered that home is about tastes and people and sounds we know well, even if we haven't visited in a very long time.


Anonymous said...

So what denomination is that?

Blythe said...

He's a Lutheran pastor.