My brother Bubba is in town. This evening after a great time over at Blackberry Flats with Mess Cat and Leroy (who cooked a fantastic meal by the way), he and I sat down to go through some boxes that have been waiting for him to look through and make decisions about.
Of Mama and Daddy’s stuff.
We laughed over stories of old teachers. We were quiet as we read through books from our childhood. We unwrapped mugs and dishes and things that Mess Cat had tenderly wrapped and boxed months ago. Bubba and I read inscriptions and discovered that the old dictionary we grew up with was given to Daddy when he was sixteen years old. Good stuff, y’all. Really good.
Halfway through a box, I handed this book to Bubba to decide if he wanted it. I went back to digging in the box. Then I heard the unmistakable sound of Bubba getting tickled about something. That right there. You can’t help but join in. Mirth and joy and all kinds of delightful. All mixed together.
I looked over my glasses at him. Really? What book was he looking at? Surely not the one I’d just handed him. I mean, I don’t know much about the author, but I was pretty sure it wasn’t a comedy.
“What are you doing?” I asked him.
He laughed some more. Then he told me he was pretty sure the book was something of a gag gift from Daddy to Mama. A glance inside the front cover showed it once belonged to a Jack Reeves and that it was 50 cents in a used book sale. Yep. Sounds about right.
Bubba told me the story of how one night Mama made sausage rice for supper. She put a plate of it in front of Daddy and said, “It’s not much, but we’ll call it a meal.” To which Daddy replied, “Zola?”
Ba dum bump.
After that whenever Mama made sausage rice she called it “Zola.” And a new dish was born and named.
We are pretty sure that no one ever read the book, but if anyone would have, it would have been my Daddy. He was an eclectic reader and a lover of words and thoughts.
I love this story, and I love having people to share these stories with. I am tickled to hear this family lore that happened after I had moved out of the house. What a gift that my brother was there to see it unfold, remembered it, and shared it with me tonight. He’s even pretty sure he found the book at the Old Book Sale and showed it to Daddy, who of course had to get it for Mama.
As for the book, it will go on my classics shelf. Because the story behind it is definitely classic Mama and Daddy. And now I have a new memory to recall when I see it–the laughter of this night with my brother, the one in which we took on a task that could have been more painful than it was but ended up in us rolling with fits of laughter.
And as if all that weren’t enough, now I am craving me some Zola.
Wishing you all a good story that brings a smile to your face.
Love to all.
**Credit and many thanks to Bubba for not only the story but also the title of this post. 🙂
2 thoughts on “A Literary Dish”
I love this backstory. I am pretty sure the sausage and rice reference must have been that it was good and cheap. 🙂
I am sure my eyes lit up with joy as Bubba told me this story, Karen. I love it. This book is on my classics shelf, right below the one with books by two of my favorite authors who have their own shelf. 😉 Mama often said, “Well it might not be good, but at least there’s enough of it.” I think you are right. But she wasn’t, it was ALWAYS good when she made it.