Every mother harbors a mystery of some sort. Many handed down from one generation to next forming a bond so strong no man can penetrate. I came to realize this at an early age, which has stood me in good standing throughout life. Namely, don't mess with female secrets.
It all started at a church fellowship supper, which is usually centerpoint of any good church. Attend just one church fellowship supper and you learn everything that needs to be known about that church. These functions, as you might guess, are supervised entirely by women of church.
My mother's mystery had roots at a church fellowship supper. Everyone was expected to bring their signature dish.
For example, everyone knew Sister Grace's signature dish was her sweet potatoes topped with marshmallows. Nobody in her right mind would dare bring a similar dish. Also, Sister Sylvia always brought mashed potatoes with gravy, which everybody agreed would be a featured plat du jour at Marriage Supper of Lamb. Sister Eloise's contribution was apple pie to die for, and list went on and on.
Of course, being new to church we did not understand this culinary dynamic. So, when we were invited to first church fellowship supper head lady asked my mother what dish she would bring. Not really having such a dish, my mother casually mentioned meatloaf, which seemed to settle issue.
For some reason church fellowship supper slipped our mind and evening before my mother suddenly remembered. "Oh, my," she exclaimed, "I forgot to make meatloaf."
Being a practical-minded person, she simply went to one of her favorite markets, purchased a freshly made meatloaf and brought it home and "doctored it up," as she said. That settled, she thought no more about it.
The next day at church fellowship supper, we arrived bearing our store- bought meatloaf. How were we to know this was anathema at church? We were just delighted to be with rest of church people enjoying delicacies. I will never forget great spread we encountered. So much food, so little stomach.
Fifteen minutes into eating portion of fellowship supper, people began complementing my mother on meatloaf. "This is," one lady proclaimed, "one of best meatloaves I have ever tasted." Then she said something that sent my mother into a panic. "You just must give me recipe for this delicious meatloaf of yours. I've never had anything like it before."
Right about here an awful thought dawned on my mother. From bits of conversation heard here and there, she realized each dish was a special dish and if anybody knew hers was store-bought, she would be in serious trouble.