Tuesday, 21 January 2014


How not to make mistakes

vol 6 saying grace


I lived and worked in America for a spell in the early twenties, more specifically Texas.  If you’ve been, or indeed habite it yourself, you’ll know it is, in the words of Shirley Bassey, its own special creation.  On the (worrying small) plane over, we were ominously warned ‘don’t judge the rest of America by Texas’ but, being a sort of special creation ourselves, we loved it.    

Anyway, I’m sure you know that herein lies the heart of the bible belt – a fact which we had curiously forgotten on this particular afternoon.  Feeling pretty gung ho at the time, we’d become fairly au fait with the culture and had managed to cultivate a couple of friends, namely Kirt and April and had even attracted an old friend, Hazel, to fly 7000 miles from home to spend a week with us in good old TX.

The five of us had worked up a mighty appetite target shooting, taking a tour of the Dr Pepper museum and detouring to pick up Kirt and April’s friend, Parson something or other and his son, ready for an early dinner or late lunch depending which side of Birmingham (erring on the side of specificity - Black Country, not Alabama) you hail from.

Sitting in The Cotton Patch restaurant we, now seven, placed our homely home cooked food orders and chatted politely if not quite cheerfully; we didn’t know man and son after all, and pretty soon the food arrived.  Mmmmm smelt delicious and, noting zealously that the pork didn’t even require a knife, we tucked in exceedingly enthusiastically.  I say ‘we’ very loosely here because what happened next is a frozen tableau fixed in the very highest HD in my mind.   

It seemed that with a foul synchronicity, we three Brits looked up as a hush descended over the table and Mr Pastor continued;

“ … and so we come to thank you, Jesus, for these, your blessi …”

Oh the eye watering panic as my eyes darted from face to face taking in first Hazel, hamster-like, cheeks bulging and eyes streaming from the effort of not chewing to Muttley’s, one side of his face distorted with a particularly (as is their wont) massive piece of meatloaf and imagining mine as I examine our options of risking a potentially death-inducing swallow, feigning a faint or bursting out laughing and spraying Mr Pastor and son with The Cotton Patch’s perfectly executed and exquisite pork.