Thursday tidbits

First, here is a photo of the lake flies, which refused to upload for yesterday’s post.

Smoke on the water

Smoke on the water

Second, and unrelated to Malawi, I have been reading the book Gilead.  Now, book selection here in Malawi is random at best.  Gilead is not a book on my “dying to read” list, but I found it at the used bookstore and decided that its Pulitzer Prize at least guaranteed that it wouldn’t be BAD.  Little did I know that it is set in Iowa, or that 1950s Iowa is, in some ways, quite similar to the present day.  Gilead, Iowa, is not a place that I have heard of – though if Google Maps is to be believed, it is, in fact, about 16 miles north (and one mile east) of my house.  Tabor occasionally makes an appearance, though, so  the fictional Gilead may be further southwest.  Funny to find a book about my home 8000 miles from it!

Gilead is a book of stories and anecdotes that an old man – a dying preacher – is leaving for his young son.  Though full of sage advice, my favorite parts discuss, succinctly, and with clarity, the function of church food.  See if these passages don’t ring true:

On a Ladies’ Home Journal article about God, which the Reverend reads long after it was published:

“We agreed it must have been fairly widely read in both our congregations, because on one page there’s a recipe for that molded salad of orange gelatin with stuffed green olives and shredded cabbage and anchovies that has dogged my ministerial life these last years, and which appears at his house whenever he so much as catches cold.  There should be a law to prevent recipes for molded salad from appearing within twenty pages of any article having to do with religion.”

On a meal, received after being ill:

“Since supper was three kinds of casserole with two kinds of fruit salad, with cake and pie for dessert, I gathered that my flock, who lambaste life’s problems with food items of just this kind, had heard an alarm.  There was even a bean salad, which to me looked distinctly Presbyterian, so anxiety had overspilled its denominational vessel.  You’d have thought I’d died.  We saved it for lunch.”

The book strikes me as one that my mother would enjoy more – or at least find more meaningful – than I, but I find it oddly comforting, quietly spiritual in the way that so many Midwesterners are.   Have any of you, dear readers, read it?  And we’ll end with a photo, mostly unrelated, except that I find it quiet and self-possessed in the same way as the book:


From the wedding - village children wait patiently


2 Responses to “Thursday tidbits”

  1. Rachel Says:

    I love the picture! You are quite the artist Amy.

  2. ShawnaKim Says:

    That picture of lake flies is incredible, Amy.

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