She made her way to my house she had a meal for someone riding shotgun and she was picking up goody bags to deliver to the co-laborers in Christ who were still at the mercy of quarantine. I apologized for my rushed goodbye and sausage residue in my hands.
“I’m in the middle of cooking supper.” She’d made a casserole for the ones she was delivering dinner.
“What’s for supper?” She asked me.
“Shrimp boil. I make it a lot on Wednesdays. So easy to just dump it all in and go.”
That was the abbreviated explanation. There really is more to it than that, but I didn’t have to explain. She knew. She understood without me offering much more in the way of explanation.
“Ooh that sounds good.”
She has seafood allergic people at her house; shrimp boil isn’t a good option for them, unless they want anaphylaxis and an epi-pen for dessert. I felt a pang of sadness for my friend that Wednesday night seafood boil isn’t a part of her regular supper rotation. We said our goodbyes and see you laters. I told her to be careful and I headed back inside to finishing the dumping of the items. The aroma filled my house and the lost-to-other-things teenagers began to make their way into the kitchen.
“Is supper almost ready?”
“Did you put lots of nekka sausage in this time?”
“Mama, I’ll start making drinks, whatcha want?”
“I’ll get the table ready, where’s that plastic throwaway table cloth?”
I answered the questions, not necessarily in the order they’d been presented, but answered nonetheless.
“About 5 more minutes, top drawer of the China cabinet, don’t forget to add newspaper and paper towels. I did 2 pounds tonight of nekka (“nekka” is Martin for Conecuh sausage made in Conecuh County Alabama, it’s a Martin favorite and hits our dinner rotation in some form no less than 2 times a month.) I’ll take ice water.”
The teenage boy, the bottomless sausage pit, he towers above me now. It’s hard to believe I was just carrying him on my hip, naming him, nurturing him, teaching him sign language and begging Jesus to make him talk. Another pang of sadness. He came and stood beside me as I stirred, and I inadvertently said out loud what it was I was thinking.
“I love to cook seafood. It always tells you when it’s done. I don’t have to guess or pull out a meat thermometer to know.”
His deep baritone stated, “It floats to the top?”
I chuckled, “Yeah, I reckon so, but it also tells you by,…“
The oldest teen interjected, “It changes color. Right Mama? Fish does and shrimp do too.”
“Yes ma’am. It does indeed.”
They’d just uncovered my Wednesday night supper choice secret in the middle of the conversation.
On Wednesdays I work for the King, it’s been nearly a decade now that Wednesday is my Bible study day. My co-laborers and I spend our Wednesdays pouring out and investing in the people of God. I ain’t even gonna lie, it wears me out sometimes. Well most times, even in the age of technology where everything is a zoom call or an internet dependent action, Wednesdays wipe me out. By pouring out I’m filled back up again that is just how the King’s economy works. That pouring out comes at a cost, everything does really, but it’s a price I’m willing to pay to know my peeps and I are being transformed by the Word of God.
Years ago shrimp boil was reserved for special occasions and to some degree I guess it still is. We have minimal in way of clean up as I literally dump the meal out on a lined table, there’s no request to eat separately or in front of the TV on those supper nights, clean up is a breeze, one big pot to wash and very few utensils in general. When we are finished, on the rare occasion there are leftovers we pack those up for lunches and such the following days, we roll up that paper lined disposable tablecloth and with the remaining trash and toss it in the can.
Thursday is garbage day so it is a perfect opportunity for me to remind the garbage chore person to gather trash and drag the can to the street.
We don’t shrimp boil every Wednesday, sometimes I am just too tired, or haven’t planned that far ahead and we have something else for supper, something less exciting or not as easy, something that doesn’t let me know when it’s cooked fully thereby taking the guesswork out of my supper rotation routine.
Those shrimp boil suppers have taught me a valuable lesson about the King’s economy. Very often our motives don’t match the actual consequences of our actions. His economy takes ashes, burnt ruins, and transforms them to beauty. His economy trades death for life, conquers death by death, opposes the proud and uplifts the humble.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9