Mack Williams: Big help
A few days before Christmas 2017, a lady with what appeared to be several grandchildren was ahead of me in the grocery story check-out line with several big cardboard flats (cardboard flats because it was ALDI) of canned vegetables.
She had them stacked one-on-top-of each other in her basket. The immediate impression (to me) was that she had removed sections of the grocery’s canned vegetable aisle and had seemingly stacked them in the same order in her basket.
There were layers of canned potatoes, canned carrots, canned green peas, canned corn (both regular and creamed), and canned green beans (called “fibula” by the ancient Romans. My East Rowan Latin teacher, Mrs.Thayer Puckett, though no longer in this world, remains close by, spiritually).
At this “stewey” (not Family Guy, that’s “Stewie”) time of year, I thought that perhaps the lady was going to make a big stew! Then my thoughts turned to “churches and boiling pots,” no, not the Inquisition, but those big iron cauldrons in which Brunswick stew is prepared according to familial, time-honored recipes, all under the direction of the “stewmaster.” He is a rural analogy to that of a symphony conductor like Toscanini, Furtwangler or Von Karajan (Furtwangler was never a Nazi; however, the same cannot be said of Von Karajan).
As far as cauldrons are concerned, the main association which comes to my mind besides that of Quasimodo tipping them over, spilling boiling oil from the top of the Cathedral of Notre Dame onto an angry crowd having a decidedly “anti-Quasimodo” bent, is that of Scarlett O’Hara’s one-time husband, Frank Kennedy. His clothes were boiled in a huge iron pot, ridding them of the “critters” with which they had become infested.
Upon exiting my car several weeks ago in downtown Danville, I was struck with an all-pervading smell of Brunswick stew. With there being an ordinance against burning leaves within city limits, the savory smell of Brunswick stew can be considered to be Fall’s official urban smell, often coming from local churches, the Moose Lodge, and various Legion Posts. But that smell, absorbed by wet school clothes hanging on the clothes line, would probably have been just as “educationally disconcerting” back at Granite Quarry School as was the smell of the burning leaves in our Old Concord Road yard!
Just at that moment, my boiling and bubbling stew fictional reverie was interrupted by fact, when the lady making this massive canned purchase said to the cashier: “I always like to help out a family in need at Christmastime. This is for a lady with five kids whose house just burned down!”
I complemented her on this, after first excusing myself for any semblance of briefly butting into a stranger’s life, but everything was fine.
The lady had help with her purchases, since she was accompanied by what appeared to be several grandkids of appreciable size (meaning sufficient age and muscle, not “fat”).
Getting into my car, I noticed the lady and grandchildren loading the food items into a large pick-up truck not very far away. I hoped she planned to take these children along to help deliver them, so they could interact first-hand with the unfortunate children they would be helping.
Her truck was very large, a size just under the largest I’ve seen. I’m afraid I’m prejudiced about those largest of trucks to the effect that when seeing one, I say to myself: “That truck’s about the same size as the variety of lightweight tanks Rommel took to North Africa!” (I only say this to myself, not hollered out to the truck’s driver from my car window; I’ve got a modicum of sense).
Seeing that big truck, filled with grandmother and grandkids leaving the ALDI parking lot, off to help an unfortunate family in need, I have decided to curb my prejudice against big trucks; because sometimes it does take a big truck to do a big job!
By Mark Wineka firstname.lastname@example.org SALISBURY — Never has so much attention been given to a fence. Many motorists have seen... read more