What things do you believe in?
I believe in fried chicken. The kind made by every granny you’ve ever known. The kind fried in black iron skillets.
I believe it is powerful stuff. Which is probably why you see it at funeral receptions, baby showers, and churches.
I also believe in hand-rolled biscuits made from flour, fat, salt, baking powder, and buttermilk. To add additional ingredients to this mix would be like drawing a mustache on the Mona Lisa.
I believe in teaching young men to clean fish. I believe in kids who ask too many questions. And I believe in girls who are gutsy enough to be themselves.
I believe girls have it harder than boys. And I’m sorry for that.
I believe in giving money to the homeless—not once or twice, but every time I see someone down on their luck. Every single time. I believe in giving more than I should.
I believe in old-time country dances. Long ago, before TV’s, smartphones, and twenty-four-hour news channels, I believe people threw more parties.
I believe in bowing heads to say grace. I believe in crickets, loud frogs, and places where you cannot hear busy highways.
I believe in magic tricks. And in teenagers who haven’t found themselves yet. I believe in all golden retrievers, Labs, bloodhounds, some Jack Russels. And marriage.
I believe in Marie, Lorena, and Nadia—living at a battered women’s shelter in South Georgia. I believe in high-school dropouts, and kids who miss their daddies. I believe in nurses.
I believe in music made by hand, fiddles, upright pianos, and the poetry of Hank Williams. I believe in Willie Nelson.
I believe in the memory of grandparents, and keeping them alive with stories. I believe in making lowly people famous, and famous people lowly.
And I believe this world is better than most give it credit. I believe that if folks truly knew how much good there was, they would quit hurting each other.
There are kindhearted people. I have seen them. I have shaken their hands, hugged their necks. To find them, you have to know where to look, but they’re around.
They are the sort who attend funerals for those they barely knew. Who stand in maternity wards, looking at newborns through glass windows.
They are the kind who stop cars to help strangers change tires. They are big tippers, self-effacers, shower-singers, and casserole makers.
And I believe in them.
I believe in the old woman I once knew, who said: “If you REALLY wanna love someone, give’em something good to eat.”
Granny. I believe in the wisdom of sweet women, weather-worn, wrinkled, solemn ladies who know their ways around skillets. Who kiss cheeks with dry lips, who make the world sunny by dusting counters with flour.
I believe in the power of their sugar. In their fried chicken. In the oil of their love. And I believe they are about as close to God as you can get, here on earth.
Above all, I believe that our beliefs don’t amount to mule spit in this world.
It’s what we do that counts.