Wednesday, May 14, 2008


Once upon a time in the rural South, there was the annual custom of "Dinner On The Grounds". This is a picture of the covered picnic table at the side of Mona's church where this yearly rite (or sometimes more often) was held. The women from the small churches all brought their best dishes, and not just one dish but enough to feed their family and more to spread upon the table for all to share. There was the traditional fried chicken, which was so moist inside but crisp outside, the garden vegetables, the potato salads, and the heavenly home baked pies and cakes. Most of the recipes were in the heads of the cooks and prepared without a thought to measurements. My mouth waters thinking about the wonderful dishes from my past that legions of Southern Magnolias have prepared. The dinner was immediately after a morning of church and sometimes preceded an afternoon of singing. After all of the plates were piled high and the "Sweet Tea" had been poured, the blessing was said and all ate to they were close to bursting at the seams. While the women cleaned everything up, the men all gathered to discuss the news of the day as children ran and played in the background. Everyone knew everyone and often entire clans of families were present. It was a wonderful tradition, but unfortunately not one I participated in.
I lived "In Town" and the "Town Folks" were more refined and dignified. We had "Family Night Suppers". This was basically the same thing, but the meal was spread in the Fellowship Hall of the church. The meal was served on a Sunday evening and all ate inside the hallowed halls of the church. The scenario is the same-the women cleaned it up, the men stood around talking and the kids were outside running and playing. We actually belonged to a church here in Ruston-a small Methodist Church that continued this tradition. I think they may still do a variation of this even today.
The church we attend today has a quarterly "Buck A Burger or Dog" suppers. We do not have Sunday evening services nor the Sunday School of my youth and early adult years. We have a Sunday morning service and small group one night during the week. The church believes strongly in the importance of family and family time. In today's busy world, they make every effort to insure that the family time is not encroached upon by multiple "church meetings" or any committee type meetings. This is quite a change from the church I grew up in and the church we attended until about 10 years ago.
Life was indeed simpler during "The Good Old Days" and certainly moved at a much slower pace. What are your favorite memories, what do you miss, and even what do you not miss? I am interested to hear.
On the exercise front, our run was rained out this AM. Now I am not opposed to running in the rain, but I draw the line when it is lightning!


Obsessive Foodie or Food Addict....You Decide said...

I once pretended corn pops were Holy Communion and got in trouble. Sheeesh....give me a break. I was like 7.

I guess that is a church story.

Lora said...

What did you use for the wine?

Deb said...

We had picnics after Sunday service in Illinois and also Pot wasn't too often, but southerners don't have anything on the Methodists up there...and I know the Lutherans of Lake Wobegon are an eating congregation.... Episcopalians didn't seem to have this obsession with food although there is always the Shrove Tues. pancake supper..... and an occastional beer blast.

the Jennings secede from the South said...

Oh, I miss the ol' fellowship hall suppers!