September 24, 2012
We Southerners have a way of making everything better, in our own unique way. Whether someone is sick or bereaved or has just had a baby, we believe that a homemade casserole or cake or plate of cookies is just what the doctor ordered.
And it is.
Oh, it’s not the nutritional value of the gift of food that does the recipient good. It’s the thought. It’s the effort. It’s the time it took to deliver the dish.
I was reminded of this charming custom just this past week, when I had a second surgery this year. Feeling worn out from the ordeal and just plain depressed over having to recuperate from yet another procedure, I’ll admit, I needed some cheering up.
My husband and I belong to a Bible study group through 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville. We’ve been very fortunate to have been in this same group for more than three years, and whenever any of us is in need, the rest of the group is there without hesitation.
On the day I came home from the hospital, there was a beautiful meal waiting for my family and me. It may sound like a small thing, but it wasn’t. It meant the world to know that someone thought enough of my loved ones to take care of them while I was incapacitated.
Every night since I returned from the hospital, there has been another full meal provided by these kind people, and it’s been wonderful. Could we have ordered take-out? Could my husband or even one of our children scrounged up a meal? Of course. But they didn’t have to. Other families took on that task for us, and that fact alone makes me feel better already.
Every family has their go-to casserole or dessert they take to a family in need. I know we do; it’s lasagna, salad and bread. Our own refrigerator is full of fabulous casseroles (I can’t tell what’s in all of them, but it doesn’t matter), beautiful homemade deserts, fruit platters, cheeses and crackers, you name it. They’re all in there. They’re all appreciated, and they all make me feel as good as any prescription my doctor sent home with me.
O.K. with the exception of maybe one, but you know what I mean.
The milk of human kindness runs dry much of the time, or so it seems, but in situations such as the one my family is in now – with Mom incapacitated however briefly – a little bit of kindness goes an awfully long way.
Carole Townsend is also a Gwinnett Daily Post staff correspondent and author of “Southern Fried White Trash.” The book takes a humorous look at families and how we behave when thrown together for weddings, funerals and holidays. She has been quoted on msnbc.com, in the LA Times, USA Today and the Christian Science Monitor, been featured on FOX 5 News and CNN, and is often a guest on television and radio shows nationwide. She currently travels throughout the southeast, meeting readers at book signings and speaking publicly at various events. Her next book, “Red Lipstick and Clean Underwear,” will be released in October 2012.