Good gravy!

By Regena Handy
This may be closest I come to talking about politics.
Oh, no, you’re saying, she promised not to touch on that subject. Most of us are already worn out with that topic which doesn’t culminate for another four long months with the Big Election. But this story is actually about gravy.
If you grew up in any part of the south, you well know how much we like our gravy. Biscuits and gravy. Fried chicken and gravy. Dumplings and gravy. Sausage gravy. Bacon gravy. Red-eye gravy.
Recently on Steve Harvey’s TV show “Little Big Shots,” he featured a young boy named Carson Peters from a small community in Tennessee. Carson was only five years old and already a fantastic little fiddler with a charming stage personality when my husband and I first met him at the Galax Fiddlers’ Convention around 2010.
During the interview portion of the show, comedian Harvey was stressing the youngster’s country roots and asked him if he liked gravy. To which Carson replied, “Gravy is my favorite beverage.”
Some of us can relate.
Okay, okay, where is the political slant on this whole story, get to it already, you’re saying.
I grew up in the ‘50s and ‘60s in what people probably call a blue-collar family. My father was a sawmiller, my mother a housewife and child caregiver. Our small farm consisted of a milk cow, hogs that were raised for slaughter, work horses used in timbering, chickens, dogs and cats. We grew a vegetable garden, along with corn and hay for the animals.
We certainly weren’t rich by monetary standards but didn’t lack for the necessities either. Every morning I would wake to the smell of gravy and biscuits along with meat raised on the farm.
I commented to my mother once that she made the best biscuits and gravy in the world. Her reply was that she had certainly had enough practice as she cooked them almost every morning of her married life.
Now, finally, here’s where the political comment comes in. Depending on who was president at the time determined the type of gravy we had. Per my father, anyway. My first recollection was of Ike gravy, then there was Kennedy gravy, followed by Johnson gravy and Nixon gravy.
I remember Dad saying after his inauguration, “we’re having Kennedy gravy this morning.” I was only seven and probably wondered why we had switched from Ike gravy. Or on one occasion him saying to my mother, “better make the gravy a little thinner this morning, we’ve got a new president.”
Now, I’m not getting into political party lines and all that, but obviously the gravy was better when Dad’s preferred candidate was in office.
I’ll admit I’m having a hard time imagining Hillary gravy or Trump gravy or even Bernie gravy. Just doesn’t have the same quality somehow.
But regardless of all the goings-on in Washington that sometimes seem far removed from much of the populace or the eventual outcome of it all, us regular folks know how to survive. We’ll just make the gravy a little thinner.


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