Category: Guest WoW

Biscuits and Gravy


Sometimes you just need comfort food! Food like your mama or grandma made for you as a kid. Food from a favorite restaurant, or junk food from a gas station. Anyone who likes food has a favorite or two. On a stressful day, or even a cold day, certain foods bring comfort. Just like ice cream hits a special spot on a Summer day, hot soup warms you to your toes on a Winter day.

There is no better comfort food in the world than one that brings back fond memories of special days. Why do you think the traditional Thanksgiving dinner is such a favorite? I have yet to find anyone who doesn’t want the same dinner with all the fixings every year.  It brings them pure joy.  

My absolute favorite comfort food is one my mama made us almost every weekend.  Usually on Sunday morning.  It’s gravy and biscuits.  Any time I miss my mama, I get a craving for her biscuits and gravy.  Her creamy gravy, made from a bacon dripping roux, and rich milk, was smooth as silk.  She always added extra black pepper for me.  That hot gravy poured over her light as a feather biscuit, was a meal to die for!  It’s no wonder it was a family favorite.  And no wonder it gives me so much comfort when I am missing those precious days.

I was talking to my daughter Christine this week and somehow the conversation landed on cooking.  She was explaining to me that in Maine, she cannot find the flour or cornmeal that she was used to using here in Tennessee.  Christine is a very good biscuit and cornbread maker, and those are two of her favorite things to bake.  Our conversation then led to gravy and biscuits.  It turns out that is also her favorite meal.  A girl after my own heart!

Gravy and biscuits are certainly not on my weekly menu as it was growing up, but I do indulge now and then.  A couple of weeks ago, with the mornings turning cold, I had a hankering for my mama’s breakfast.  I found a new bacon brand that is, in my opinion, the best I’ve ever tasted.  I saved the drippings and made plans to make my mama’s gravy.  I decided to just use store bought biscuits, as I could never duplicate my mama’s anyway.  But I made the gravy just like she always did.  It was wonderful!  As I ate that meal, even the aroma of the rich, peppery gravy, brought me back to sitting around the table with my parents and siblings.  It not only warmed me up on a chilly morning, but it also filled my tummy and heart with the love I felt way back then.  Now that is comfort food at its best!

Hello Doc

A while back I had an appointment for a regular checkup with my doctor.  Every 3 months I go in for blood work, refills on my medications, and a general check on everything going on with my body and mind.  Having Lupus, Fibromyalgia, Thyroid, and Type 2 Diabetes, it’s important for me to stay on top of things.  All of my adult life has been filled with regular and not so regular medical appointments.  As you can guess, that doesn’t mean I like it!

Being sick is nothing new to me.  I was a sickly child in my younger years.  Back in the 1960s, little was known about the autoimmune diseases I would later be diagnosed with in my twenties.  I absolutely hated going to the doctor as a child.  Most children from my era will remember that almost every doctor’s appointment would end with a shot!  I would either get one for infection or an inoculation.  I felt like a human pincushion as a kid.  And so, began my life- long dread for doctor appointments, and my sometimes- overwhelming anxiety to keep them.

When I was around 19, I remember a friend of mine encouraging me to visit a doctor for a chronic sore throat.  She made a statement that stuck with me. She said, “Wait till you have a baby, all your inhibitions about going to the doctor will end.” She was right. After carrying a child for 9 months and being poked, and looked at by a room full of strangers, you tend to let your guard down.  

However, something changed after the births of my first two daughters.  I felt overwhelming fatigue, joint and muscle pain, low- grade fevers, hair loss, digestive issues, mental problems, and constant infections. These symptoms were chronic and on some days debilitating. It was very difficult to care for my young children and keep up with our home. I felt like I had the flu, and it would not go away. I was miserable. 

Thus, began the long process of seeing doctors for an answer. I just needed to know what was wrong with me so I could deal with it! The family doctor I was seeing at the time told me it had to be stress. He said I was too young to be so physically ill that my being home 24/7 with 2 babies was too much. I knew he was wrong. So off I went to find another opinion. And another, and another. After getting a referral from a friend, I made an appointment with a female physician. I was told she was easy to talk to, and God knew I desperately needed someone to listen.

I went to my first appointment with Dr. Jennifer with a long, handwritten list. I handed it to her and said, “These are my symptoms. We have great insurance and meet our deductible for the year. Do every test you can think of and don’t stop until you can give me a diagnosis. I am SICK, and I cannot live like this anymore!” She listened, really listened! She was the first person I had spoken to for months that truly believed me. It wasn’t all in my head, as one doctor had told me.  It was real, and it was ruining my life.

I literally went to every specialist known to man and endured every test they felt necessary. There were three full months that, in every single business day, I had a test scheduled. I knew my way around the hospital like I worked there. It was hard at times, of course, but I knew something was wrong, and I was determined to find an answer.  

After a year and a half of visits and medical tests, Dr. Jennifer called me to her office. This lady was a pro. I have never met a doctor since with her incredible thoroughness and caring bedside manner. She truly loved her patients and wanted the absolute best for them. There were several times that I made an appointment with her at the last minute, upset and weary from my plight. She had instructed the front desk to fit me in any time I called. On three occasions she didn’t charge me for my visit. Now that is a dedicated, caring doctor!

When Dr. Jennifer & her nurse came into the room where I was waiting, she looked at me and began to cry, and then the nurse began to cry.  Dr. Jennifer said, “It’s Lupus.”  I did not know what Lupus was or what a long road I had ahead of me. She informed me it was mainly affecting my Central Nervous System, but I was also having Lung and Kidney involvement. All the other symptoms were just par for the course with Lupus. My body was literally attacking itself, which explained the constant infections. I had a lot of inflammation inside of me. That explained the unrelenting pain.

That was in the 1980s. I am so very grateful that now in 2021, almost anyone you talk to knows about Lupus. When I was diagnosed with Lupus, it was still being called a death sentence by many doctors. Thank God with research and new medications, that is no longer true for every Lupus patient. 

With all the doctor appointments and tests I have had in my life, I still DREAD it! I go through so much more with the dread and anxiety it breeds than I ever go through with the actual visit. Why? I do not know.

I know I’m not alone. There are people who refuse to see a doctor even when they are sick or in pain. My most recent appointment gave me anxiety for over a week. Yet the appointment itself went perfectly! It was pleasant and quick, yet thorough. I told one of my daughters that I spent more time dreading it than the actual visit lasted. It’s all so silly to do that.  

If you are not familiar with Lupus, I would like to ask you to take a few minutes out of your day to educate yourself. There are over 15,000 new patients diagnosed with Lupus each year. That means millions, upon millions, of Lupus patients out there are dealing with this chronic disease every day. Someone you know and love may be suffering, and you don’t know it. People with Lupus often look perfectly healthy. Having loved ones who at least try to understand what we go through is part of our ongoing battle.  

Thank you for reading my story, and I hope you are well.

The Dash

I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of a friend.

He referred to the dates on her tombstone, from the beginning to the end.

He noted that first came the date of her birth. And spoke of the following date with tears.

But, he said, what mattered most of all–was the dash between those years.

For the dash represented all the time she spent alive on Earth.

But now only those that loved her know what that little line was worth.

For it matters not how much we own, the cars, the house, the cash.

What matters is how we lived and loved and how we spent our dash.

So, think about this long and hard, are there things you’d like to change.

For you never know how much time is left, you could be at dash mid-range.

If we could just slow down enough, to consider what’s true and real.

And always try to understand the way other people feel.

And be less quick to anger and show appreciation more,

And love the people in our lives, like we’ve never loved before.

If we treat each other with respect and more often wear a smile.

Remembering that the special dash might only last a little while.

So, when your eulogy is being read and your life’s action to rehash.

Would you be proud of the things they say about how you spent the dash

… Author Unknown

The Delinquents

We read in the papers

We hear on the air

Of killing and stealing

And crime everywhere.

We sigh and we say

As we notice the trend

“This young generation!

Where will it all end?”

But can we be sure

That it’s their fault alone?

That, maybe most of it

Isn’t really our own?

Too much to spend;

Too much idle time;

Too many movies

Of passion and crime;

Too many books

Not fit to be read;

Too much of evil,

In what they hear said.

Too many children

Encouraged to roam

By too many parents

Who won’t stay at home.

Kids don’t make the movies

They don’t write the books

That paint a gay picture

Of gangsters and crooks.

They don’t make the liquor,

They don’t run the bars,

They don’t make the laws

And they don’t build the cars.

They don’t make the drugs,

That addle the brain;

It’s all done by older folk,

Greedy for gain.

Thus in so many cases

It must be confessed

The label “Delinquent”,

Fits older folk best.

By “The Patriot” (Adelaide, Australia)

The Mask …by JoAnn

I think it would be safe to say that we have all been touched in one way or another by the COVID-19 Pandemic. I have stayed home more than ever before in my lifetime. I’m not complaining, for I consider myself one of the blessed to have not caught the dreaded virus. Each day I read or hear about another family who has been left to grieve for a loved one lost to this ugly virus. This week it was the loss of a beloved pastor who was well known in our area. I attended a church when my children were young, where he ministered. I always enjoyed hearing him, not only preach, but share his talent of singing. I learned a lot from him and was very saddened to hear the news of his passing. This ugly monster named Covid took this dear man in less than three weeks. He was only 45 years old. He passed away in his home, unable to breathe. He left behind a wife, four children, and two grandchildren. What a tragedy.

A loss like this one makes me question, yet again, why so many people are complaining about wearing a mask in public, or around others. It astounds me that people are so selfish, or ignorant. It is difficult to comprehend someone being ignorant after all the months we have had to educate ourselves on the protocol. Every time I turn on the television, someone is talking about Covid and its dangers. Every time I open my laptop, the virus is headline news. Unfortunately, I have also watched many videos online of people having complete meltdowns in public places just because they were asked by management to put on a mask. Grown adults acting like toddlers who don’t want to give up their toy. I don’t understand.      

It has always seemed to me that wearing a mask is one of the simplest things each of us can do to protect ourselves and others. Nurses and doctors have done it forever. What’s the big deal, right? Well, apparently there are just as many people who don’t want to wear a mask, for whatever reason, as there are who are willing to wear a mask.  

I live in a small rural town, surrounded by many other small towns, and even though there is a sign posted on every public building explaining the need to wear a mask inside because of the mandate, I have witnessed with my own eyes, more people unmasked than masked.

I do not know exactly why the rules are not being followed or enforced. 

I can’t help but wonder if just one person had worn a mask, would that lovely man still be here to minister to the flock he so dearly loved?  That is a question for which we will probably never know the answer.  

I hope each one who reads this is taking the simple precaution to stay safe and wearing a mask. My purse holds extras.