Award-winning writer: Jackie Papandrew

Airing My Dirty Laundry!

Gravy Train

ďI come from a family where gravy is considered a beverage.Ē Ė Erma Bombeck

I am truly grateful for gravy.

This is a much more profound statement than you realize. I am certainly thankful for the surface glories of good gravy, that warm, luscious sauce that coats my taste buds and then goes on to coat my hips. But Iíve come to realize lately that gravy is much more than that. Not being one to exaggerate, I donít want to ladle it on too thick. So let me just suggest that gravy is actually a symbol for my life.

Sometimes my life flows along smoothly, a rich, flavorful stream of goodness. Other times, it turns into a lumpy, gelatinous mess in desperate need of a sanity strainer. Perhaps when my life gets lumpy, I should sift it in the same way my grandma used to strain her gravy. Perhaps then my life wouldnít be as strained as this goofy metaphor Iím beating into the ground here. Perhaps youíre wondering what on earth Iím talking about. Perhaps Iíve said ďperhapsĒ once too often.

Anyway, what got me thinking these deep thoughts about sauce is the advent of yet another holiday season. I know itís supposed to be a time of peace on earth and good will toward men. And for the men, whoíve been ensconced on the couch since the beginning of football season, it works out just fine.

But for the women, at least those in my family, there has not been a lot of holiday harmony since gravy came into the picture. See, I come from a Southern family in which gravy has assumed Holy Grail status. In my family, the quality of a girlís gravy runs parallel to the quality of her character. A girl whose gravy lacks gravitas (which we all know is just a fancy Latin word for gravy with a kick) can find herself the object of ridicule for generations to come.

And this is what has happened to me. I am a gravy failure, never quite getting the hang of it. To make matters worse, Iím the daughter of a gravy grand master. People come from miles around to sample my motherís gravy. People wonít even bother asking someone to pass the gravy boat when itís carrying mine.

Oh, my mother has pretended to try to teach me her gravy secrets. But sheís obviously leaving out a crucial ingredient because mine never turns out like hers. Not even the mother-daughter bond, it seems, can overcome her greed for gravy glory.

I used to get very upset about this flaw in my momís character. When I was less mature than I am now (last year), I even got so annoyed by my sorry sauce that I flicked some of it at my mother with a spoon on Thanksgiving Day, coating her carefully coiffured hair with my gooey gravy. She was not amused.

This year, Iíve decided to embrace my gravy deficiency as an opportunity to develop my own character. I am not going to be grumpy about my gravy. Iím going to be thankful for all the things I take for granted. Iím going to remember that my life, even when lumpy, is pretty darn sweet. In fact, most of the time, I am definitely on the gravy train. I hope you are, too. Happy Thanksgiving.

~ †© Jackie Papandrew 2008 ~

Jackie Papandrew is an award-winning writer, syndicated humor columnist, coffee addict and mom to a motley crew of children and pets who provide a steady stream of column ideas and dirt. She's also wife to a very patient man who had no idea, years ago when he still had time to escape, what he was getting himself into. Visit her website at:  JackiePapandrew.com

[ by Jackie Papandrew Copyright © 2008 (me@jackiepapandrew.com) -- submitted by: Jackie Papandrew ]

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