Subtitle: Fat meat and grease
My grandmother, Audia Mae Hoard Roberts, was our family matriarch. We called her “Mom.” As I child, I would watch Mom take chunks of fatback (the hard fat from the pig’s back or spinal region; as distinct from the soft fat from around the abdominal area) and grind it into her meatloaf, flavor her collard greens and black-eyed peas, or, as a special treat, fry it to produce pork rinds, cracklin’s (for, drawn fresh from the hot oil, they crackled).
As she cooked, she sang. I can hear her lovely contralto voice lending praise to her Lord and Master. Among her (and, thus, my) favorites, “Great is Thy faithfulness”, “Go Down, Moses”, and “Ain’t Got Time to Die.”
Betwixt her offerings of hymnic acclaim, my grandmother would share words of wisdom. Sometimes as a direct message to my brother Wayne and me. Sometimes, it seemed to us, emanating from some deep inner place, she, recalling a moment or a person in time, was bidden to say (often prefaced by her mildly spoken oath, “Lord, have mercy”), “Some folks don’t believe fat meat is greasy.”
My brother and I knew fat meat was greasy. Initially, we had no clue as to her meaning. And she never explained. Nevertheless, by virtue of the seeming necessity of her having to repeat this observation, we discerned that “some folks” in life, ignoring what is obvious to even the casual observer, continually make bad choices that fly in the face of prior warnings of dire consequences.
And I confess, at times (more than I care to remember!), I have been numbered among “some folks.” ‘Twas so again when my most recent COVID-19 test returned “positive.”
For more than a year, throughout the advent and, now, sickening and deadly staying power of the ever-mutating coronavirus, I have sought to be scrupulous in practicing our new global protocols of relational safety. Physical distancing, avoiding large groups (and, when in groups, only for brief periods), mask-wearing (often doubled and sometimes accompanied by gloved hands), and frequent handwashing.
Recently, out-and-about, I, perhaps suffering from a moment of COVID-fatigue of self-imposed social isolation, relaxed my observance of discipline. I have no excuse. I am too old to have some (any!) sense of my immortality or my immunity from contagion. And I blame no one else.
Blessedly, at least, so far, in the 10th day of a two-week home-quarantine, my symptoms are mild. I trust I shall recover. And throughout these days of deepened, repeated reflection, I, spontaneously and audibly, have said: “Mom, once again, your grandson had to learn that fat meat is greasy!”
© 2021 PRA