“RICE AND GRAVY”

 

In my early years I knew nothing about rice and gravy.  I thought rice was either used to make pudding or served as a side with butter and sugar.  When I was in middle school (to me it was junior high), I visited a friend one weekend.  He was not from my home town and had only lived in Nacogdoches for a short period of time.  When I arrived at his house, I was excited because he had quite a few pet rabbits.  The next morning, which was Sunday, his mother told him to go to the rabbit pens and get “Henry.”  I don’t really remember whether the rabbit’s name was Henry or not, so let’s just call him that.  I was quite shocked when I discovered the main dish for Sunday dinner “Henry.”  I thought pet rabbits were pets, not food for the table.  I had eaten rabbits many times but they were wild rabbits we hunted and shot.  I wasn’t sure I could eat a pet rabbit, but I closed my eyes and took a taste…it was delicious.

The next thing that happened was also a little strange to me.  As food was passed around the table, I noticed everyone took a serving of rice and when the gravy was passed, they actually put it all over their rice.  By this time I am wondering what kind of strange family did my friend belong to.  The rabbit was fried and the gravy was made in the same skillet.  I had to close my eyes again and sample “rice and gravy.”  That was the moment that I discontinued eating rice with butter and sugar.  I have been sold out on rice and gravy since that Sunday.  One main reason I ate the rabbit and rice with gravy:  I didn’t want this strange family to think that I was strange.

I graduated from high school at 17 and transferred to Orange, Texas as a theater manager for the company I worked for while in school.  I rented a room from a lady that worked for me until I was able to move into a small house.  I found a friend to share the rent.  We also shared to cooking  duties.  I had been cooking since I was eleven years old so everything worked out  pretty well.  My friend was “Cajun” and I discovered that it’s okay to serve rice and gravy three times each day.  When I was in high school, my dad was a cook on an  off-shore drilling rig.  Most of the men were Cajun and he told me it didn’t matter what was listed on the menu as long as rice and gravy was included each meal.

Back to my time in Orange.  I decided to fry chicken for supper one night.  My room-mate requested rice and gravy to be included.  Even though I liked this side, I had  never really cooked cream gravy.  I had watched my mother and gravy looked pretty easy to me.  My first try at gravy was a horrible experience.  After frying the chicken, I browned some flour in the  skillet and added milk and water.  It was really looking good when suddenly it was thick like paste.  No problem.  I thinned the gravy, but then it looked too thin.  I will not dwell on the  experience too much but I thinned and thickened a number of times and it was necessary to remove some of the gravy to other pots.  I say “pots” because I filled many, many pots with  gravy.  While  I was still making gravy, my friend came home and, after he stopped laughing. gave me a hand.  He really knew how to make gravy so I had a  good teacher.  We threw a lot of gravy in the garbage, but the bowl we kept was delicious.  I will always remember this experience and the picture remains in my mind each time I make gravy.

If you have read my blog before, you know that I always try to end with a lesson.  On most postings I have the lesson before I have the topic but this is not one of those times.  But, there is always a lesson each day of our lives and the events that take place.  “Rice and gravy” is really an easy thing for God to bless us with.  I know that from many experiences in my past that I can always depend on God for my daily provisions.  I try not to take these blessings for granted.  At the end of each day I can look back and recall each blessing from God and give thanks.  I take comfort each day that no matter what happens in my life, or in the world, God is still in control and sovereign over all things.  He constantly watches over each of us and wants only the very best for us.  Every event that comes our way is used to bring us closer to our relationship with God.

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