J-E-L-L-O! I know, I’m old but sometimes I miss jello. True, I could go to the nearest nursing home or check-in to the hospital to get my tonsils removed, either place would give it to me twice a day in red, green, orange or yellow. Or I could move to the Midwest, where jello still shows up unashamed.
It’s not the jello so much as what went with it. I miss Sunday dinners. I miss Sundays when everything shut down. Cars and folks stayed home or went to church, not malls. Simple stuff. A time without sports, which I probably wouldn’t have said if the Patriot’s hadn’t lost their last two games, pressing me to say and do things I’ll have to repent of sooner than next Sunday.
Cracker Barrel brought back the memory in early November when they seated me next to a wall where an old ad for Jello(2 for 25 cents) hung as a framed reminder of that colorful stuff that transformed a table when cut into squares and slid onto a leaf of iceberg lettuce. A head of lettuce, something else that’s lost among arugula, endive, spinach and kale. I know the greener the veggie the healthier but every once in a while…
Truthfully, I never liked it plain unless Mama folded in whipped cream and transformed red jello into a pink dessert called Bavarian something or other . If jello came with fruit cocktail, I hoped a cherry showed up in mine. Most of the best recipes added nuts, fruit, whipped cream or cream cheese. As I write, I see faces connected to the recipes, reminders of gatherings with family, friends or feasts at church potlucks where the best cooks showed-off, in a humble sort of way. “Oh, it’s nothing, really. Simple.” My recipe box is like a smudged photo album, a collection of memories of simpler times when going out to eat meant going to somebody’s house or to church.
Does it matter? Not the jello, really, but Sunday does. All those Sunday dinners preceded by Sunday School and church, helped fortify Jud and me to walk through dark days together and remember that some how the Light would come. Every morning Jud checked off his choices on the menu sheet at MGH for lunch, dinner and breakfast for the following morning. He often chose jello. It soothed when his lips were swollen and his throat riddled with sores. Maybe it reminded him of Sunday dinners and sent healing to places where soul and spirit rest, ready to do battle to strengthen faith’s immune system, so easily compromised by a virulent virus called fear.
Jello’s no cure-all and now we know that all that coloring and sugar’s not so good for us. But there are worse things, like forgetting to be grateful for simple stuff or treating Sunday like it’s just another day.
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