During these past three months I have learned how to change plans, rearrange appointments, and to celebrate special occasions with people and numbers all rearranged. I have gained the courage to cut my own hair (a trim around the edges, at least), reacquaint myself with a weekly “home shampoo,” and to bring out the bush rollers and clippies and create a fairly good “homemade hair-do.”
We have all learned to worship at home rather than in our chosen churches, realizing anew that the church is the people, not a building. I will be thankful to get back to our building, however. We miss all the familiar ways of doing things, but we have found (as we always do) that we can make necessary adjustments when circumstances warrant. This past week our family did something that in more than four decades, we’ve never done before. We celebrated Dawn’s March 21st birthday almost three months late; on June 18th to be exact.
Dawn was excited when I told her to select a day last week for her birthday meal of choice. In her adult years it hasn’t changed. Her menu is always fried chicken, green beans, mashed potatoes and biscuits. Her birthday cake of choice in her adult life has been a hummingbird cake: three layers, slathered in cream cheese frosting with a generous sprinkling of chopped pecans. As I mixed her cake, I recalled that her daddy would always say to her as she blew out her candles, “You have to enjoy that hummingbird cake because I thought I’d never find enough hummingbirds to make it!” I couldn’t help but laugh – as we always did.
As I prepared our youngest daughter’s birthday meal, I found that not only was it three months late, there was yet another adjustment to be made. When I took my deep fryer from its resting place, I discovered the electrical cord and temperature control were not with the handy little appliance that cooks chicken up “finger-licking delicious.” I didn’t have enough time to do a lot of searching so I made a “Plan B.” That plan’s main ingredient was an iron skillet. I could almost hear my mother and grandmother applauding as I poured in the oil and set the temperature at what I hoped would be the correct heat. To them, an iron skillet was the ultimate chicken fryer.
It took me longer to fry the chicken that way and it didn’t have that perfect brown crust the deep fryer gives it, but it was fried chicken. With all the adjustments we’ve had waiting to celebrate this birthday I told myself it was what it was, and it would have to do. I didn’t taste the chicken so I just said a prayer that the taste would be satisfactory.
Dawn, Anna and Kennedy arrived ready for this long-awaited celebration. Michelle joined us. The cake was ready, the biscuits were hot, the green beans cooked down to a sizzle, and the mashed potatoes creamy. I explained about my Plan B, but no one seemed to care. They were too busy eating the results of my plan. Evidently an iron skillet still does a pretty good job when it comes to frying chicken. At the end of that celebratory meal, the platter was empty.
We all enjoyed the taste of the fried chicken even though the looks of it wouldn’t have won a blue ribbon at the fair. We also enjoyed our “rescheduled” birthday celebration just as much as we ever did when we celebrated on the correct day in March. As my sweet mama always said, “It’s good to learn to ‘swing from any limb.’”