Alice Klatt, one of our thousands of Geranium Farmers has begun to write a string of vignettes for family and friends under the general title Oyster Stew
. Barbara has passed a few of her stories on to me for posting here on More or Less Church - just to give you a taste
of this homemade 'Stew'.
I'll post three of her stories at different times and encourage you to write to her directly about her pieces and the series. Who knows?? Perhaps there will be a new self-standing order on the menu for the Blogger community?!? For information and comments, please contact Alice Klatt directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org. In the meantime, here is your first heaping helping of Oyster Stew
:Circle of Welcome
Gilbertsville is a small community just past Cosawhatchie in Jasper County, South Carolina. You turn after the bridge and the fire station and drive under the sheltering drapery of mossy limbs and along the way you see the way people have illustrated their fantasies with concrete statues set on top of bird baths and surrounded with flowers and such.
We were looking for a young patient, we the hospice team of chaplain and social worker, checking mail box numbers until we located her home driveway.
Under one of the richly aged oak trees by her house was a circle of white plastic chairs ringing a burned out place where fires have been often lit to cook a pot of fish chowder or some other savory mess. Empty now, the gathering spoke of easy conversation in afternoon shade and many an evening’s fading light as shadows melted into darkness. Laughter has been there many times and will be again.
Oaks are not the only form of riches this neighborhood possesses. We found the same circle repeated again inside around the second kitchen table. For the house has two kitchens, one for cooking and the other for 'where the plates come out'. It was really the family dining room, the nicest room in a house where comfort has had to be put on the back burner because of the many surgeries required to keep the now dying woman alive. The family joined us there, a few at first, then more and more came in the back door without knocking, having been summoned by cell phone to 'talk to the hospice people'. The stories began to flow, stories about the patient mostly and stories about the family. The almost deaf grandmother said,"Mattie (the patient) taught me about obedience. If you told her to do something, she would never stop doing it. She taught me what the Bible means when God asks for obedience". More than one speaker had to stop for tears.
Believe me when I say that there is a whole culture of family solidarity and hard wrought Christian faith in many a place like this. And believe me about this, wealth comes in more than one shape. Sometimes it comes in a plastic circle.