If I had to guess, I’d say heaven will be a long buffet line. I can’t think of anything more fitting for the afterlife than a Wednesday night potluck. Especially something like the one I ate at last week.
I counted the number of white-hairs in the little fellowship hall, then counted the number of plastic-covered dishes.
These church ladies have every virtue known to mankind. They slave in the kitchen selflessly, show patience, dedication, and they do not know how to tell a lie. Maybe I’m overdoing it. But I don’t think so.
Take, for instance, Verna. She’s got white hair. But don’t let that fool you. She can outcook any young woman in the church something fierce.
Her fried chicken is well-known around the region. The man in line ahead of me almost made a gold brick in his pants over this chicken. But that’s nothing compared to Verna’s creamed corn—which is above description. And her biscuits.
Jesus help me.
Her children have tried to duplicate her biscuits. They can’t do it. Her daughter tells me she once followed her mother’s recipe—let the dough sour, and used real lard—but she still couldn’t seem to make them come out.
“Something’s always missing,” she said. “I can’t put my finger on it, but when I make’m they’re definitely not Mama’s.”
Of course, the recipe she follows is a guess, really. Her mama has a hard time specifying tablespoons and teaspoons. She does everything by the handful. You won’t find measuring cups anywhere on Verna’s counter.
Verna also tastes whatever she makes, while she’s making it. And according to her daughter, she doesn’t use sampling spoons, she uses her pinky. And, if that’s not okay with you, kindly step out of the buffet line if you would.
I sat beside Verna and her daugher. I split a biscuit open and spread butter on the two halves. They watched me do it. Then they smiled at each other when I took a bite. I closed my eyes and made a sound like my dog makes after she’s polished off a sirloin fresh from my unsuspecting neighbor’s grill.
I had to loosen my tie.
“Good, ain’t it?” the elderly woman says, without a stitch of self-doubt.
Her daughter shakes her head. “I just don’t know how she does it. I wish I could cook like that.”
Her mother laughs and pats her hand. “If you cooked like me, honey, no one would even need me anymore.”
So, I guess I was wrong.
Church ladies do tell lies.