I want to tell this story because it’s good. Not because I like to toot my own horn, like some folks claim.
It started that Sunday we had dinner on the grounds. Alice Laverne brought her potato salad again. Now let me tell you, that stuff’s not fit to eat. Rumor has it one time when she brought it, Murphy played like he liked it, and asked her if he could take some home. Well, Alice Laverne just beamed and gave him all of it. She’s always been sweet on Murphy, anyway. Heaven knows why, cause he’s sure not much to look at. Some think it’s because he’s got a truck that’s not but ten years old, and he still has all of his own teeth. He sure ain’t got any hair left, though. Anyway, they say when he got that salad home, he picked the pimentos out of it and used it to caulk his bathtub.
So, at the next dinner, some of us saw Alice Laverne rearranging the bowls on the picnic table so her potato salad was right in the front. Soon as the pastor said grace, the chow line filled up. People were reaching clean around that bowl of potato salad to get to the good stuff. After a little while, it had blobs of baked beans and Jello all over the top of it. Improved it, if you ask me. That littlest Johnson boy even dropped a whole chicken leg in it, but his mama wouldn’t let him fish it out. Why, when Alice Laverne took that bowl home after the dinner, there was a whole meal in it.
Margie and Delia and I got to feeling kind of sorry for Alice Laverne. She sure looked dejected taking home that whole bowl of potato salad. We got to talking, and decided we would tell her we were going to take some cooking lessons, and would like her to go along. None of us, except for Alice Laverne, needed the lessons, mind you. Delia makes the finest tasting light bread you ever locked your lips around, and Margie’s chicken and noodles are mighty tasty. I’d hate to mention it, but I’ve taken the blue ribbon at the county fair six times in a row for my lemon meringue pie. Anyway, we decided to tell Alice Laverne we thought it’d be fun to have a girl’s night out, and we wanted her to go along with us. So we all signed up for ten cooking lessons over in Jacksonville. It really was kind of fun. On the way home, we made a practice of stopping by Harley’s Drug Store and getting us a chocolate malt. Alice Laverne didn’t always finish hers, because she liked to get up and look at all the nail polishes and blush and all that girlie stuff. I was real sorry, too, when we had our last lesson, but I felt like we had done something good for Alice Laverne.
The Sunday after that last lesson, we had another dinner on the church grounds. While the women were setting food out on the picnic table, Alice Laverne disappeared into the church building. Well, for goodness sake, let me tell you, when she came back out, she looked like she had been slapped in the face with a paint brush. She leaned toward me and said she didn’t think it was proper for her to be wearing make up in the house of the Lord, but didn’t see that it would hurt if she wore it outside, and how did I like it? I know the Lord will forgive me for telling a fib right there in front of His house. I was shocked better than a wet finger in a light socket, but didn’t want to make Alice Laverne feel bad about herself. After all, she was just starting to get a little self confidence. She had even baked a chocolate pie that didn’t look half bad.
It was pretty plain to me that Alice Laverne had set her cap for Murphy, seeing as how she got in the food line with him. She made sure he knew that chocolate pie was hers, too. He stuck his finger in that pie and licked it. Goodness, you should have seen the awful look on his face. I guess it didn’t taste near as good as it looked. I expected poor Alice Laverne to bawl at Murphy’s reaction, but I think that cooking class helped her self esteem, even if it didn’t help her cooking. She just turned right around and started talking to Nate, who was visiting from the Methodist Church. He brought the prettiest meatloaf you ever saw, and asked Alice Laverne if she’d try some. She did, and said it was the best she ever ate.
After the dinner, Nate took Alice Laverne home in his pick up, and his truck is only eight years old. I think we did a good thing inviting her to cooking class, even if it didn’t teach her much.
And that’s what I wanted to tell.
Copyright 2006 Betty Castleberry
~The author is a retired-early-by-choice RN who lives in Texas with her husband and three parrots. She has a daughter, step daughter, and five grandchildren. She is a published author, and loves to write for the Lord. Email her @ firstname.lastname@example.org