Photos Do Not Bend

You never know what’s going to set off a memory and today’s path down things best left forgotten comes from a photo mailer. You’ve seen them. They are those moderately rigid cardboard envelopes you mail photos in; the ones that say, misleadingly, “Photos – Do Not Bend!”

But they DO bend and therein lies today’s memory…

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How One Night At Church Youth Camp Changed My Life

bible

I grew up in a home that believed the sun rose and set on the likes of Billy Graham, Benny Hinn, T.D. Jakes, and the *cough* infallible *cough* Kenneth Copeland, just to name a few. If we weren’t AT church, one of these guys was on the television, OR Kenny Rogers and Ann Murray were belting out tunes on the turntable because they too, were god-like.

You might think that, by the time I was 16, I was firmly indoctrinated in the church. But no. Like those preacher’s kids you had in homeroom, the moment I got a taste of freedom I went in the opposite direction for a short while. However, after years of having the church and these mouthpieces of God’s word pounded into my brain, my actions–and the guilty thoughts they generated–were never far apart.

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On the Proper Way to Pronounce New Orleans, and the Delights of Seafood Gumbo

My father’s second wife brought a wealth of new culinary adventures to our table. I’ve previously blogged about “Tricking kids into eating,” the story about my step-mother trying to pass off chicken liver as steak. Other notable favorites she introduced me to include salmon patties–imagine salmon chopped to the consistency of shredded tuna, mixed with mayo and onions, and then pan fried. It’s actually better than it sounds. She introduced yet another fried fish meal, previously frozen flounder. It’s exactly what it sounds like. I add the “previously frozen” part because, while I admittedly loved this dish, doused liberally with red-wine vinegar, there was that one unfortunate time where, as she was cooking it, it turned to complete mush. Literally, it went from “frozen” to “mush” right there in the pan in a matter of seconds. After that, it sort of dropped off our regular menu.

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On People Who Change Your Life Without You Ever Realizing It

House in Semmes

When my family moved out to the “suburbs” of Mobile, AL, I spent a lot of time by myself. Most afternoons, as soon as my dad got home, I was expected to work with him in the yard, or help him with some never-ending project on the house, until dinner or dark-thirty, whichever came first.

We bought our five acres, which to this day still sits in the middle of a large wood, from a family member whose first name was simply, “Joe.”

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