Momma loves me, proof is in the dressing

Published 10:58 am Wednesday, July 28, 2010

My mother has been neglecting me lately – that’s what I told her Sunday at lunch.

Even my youngest asked me periodically through the week, “Why Nana not cooking? I want some pork chops.”

You see, she thinks all is not right with the world if we don’t eat at my mother’s house at least two times during the week.

I tend to agree with her.

Generally, it’s family tradition, for lack of a better phrase, to have breakfast and lunch on Sunday at Nana’s. However, according to my most recent calculations, it had been about a month since we had pancakes and bacon and/or any lunchtime delights – hence my statement about my mother neglecting me. So when she called Saturday with the news that lunch would be served promptly at 11 a.m., it was a happy, happy day. We were there by 10:40

As soon as we cleared the front door and kicked off our flip-flops, Nana was spotted pulling up the last batch of fried chicken.

Let me tell you right now, I closed my eyes, breathed in deep and said, “Thank you, Jesus. I love fried chicken, and I love my mother.”

The spread before us would make the heart of a starving man stop instantly – homemade cornbread dressing – my absolute favorite; fresh pink-eye, purple-hull peas, courtesy of Ms. Alene Biddle in Lockhart; pulled-from-the-husk silver queen corn, courtesy of Mr. Shorty Thompson of the North Creek Community; green beans, courtesy of the Piggly Wiggly; and fried chicken, courtesy of heaven, because that’s where it had to come from, it tasted so good.

And did I mention the fresh strawberries and homemade banana bread?

We ate like condemned men headed for the electric chair and this was our last meal.

Last week, The Star-News ran a series on obesity spawned from a recent report that ranked Alabama as the second “fattest” state in the nation. In it, the statistics revealed the top three “fattest” states in the country – Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee – were in the South. Alabama and Tennessee were bumped up there together like the line at the Dairy Queen at lunch, tying with more than 31 percent of the population obese.

Let’s put it practical terms.

In Alabama, we have towns named Pine Apple and communities named Butter Bean, and I equate just how much my mother loves me by the quantity (and quality) of food that she cooks me and mine.

I can tell you right now, after that Sunday lunch, I know she loves us in bunches.

There’s a reason people say “food, fun and family,” and let me just say, “Nana-nana-boo-boo” to my brother who is on an oilrig somewhere in Texas, who swears that my mother loves me more than him. Alas, he is right, and I had the dressing to prove it.