A New Knee, Old Comfort

March 6th, 2020

Noras Knee

(published in The Daily Memphian)

My wife Nora has a new knee, courtesy of Campbell’s Clinic and Medicare. I’m told Bernie is offering them to everyone.

I’m sure it’s a beauty, but I really can’t see it and judging by the mood of the owner, I’m not sure she’d recommend it right now. I’m also sure that her mood is somewhat affected by the questionable care of her home care nurse, a creaky old bat that moves about as fast as Nora does, seems to be in need of a walker as much as she is, and doesn’t like stairs.

If Nora needs something, “I’ll be right back” can be measured with a sundial. I am, however, worth every penny I’m being paid.

The dogs remain reliable, concerned, and ever by her side. At this point, she prefers talking to them instead of the nurse. If only they could carry a tray.

There is, however, great comfort in the support of our friends and in the real and microwaveable warmth of all they’ve brought us. And even and especially in Lent, there is great comfort from up above and from down below, from up in the pulpit to down in the basement of Calvary Episcopal Church.

We have sure and certain knowledge of homemade mayonnaise. Yea and verily, shrimp mousse and tomato aspic jiggle. Behold the turnip greens and be glad in them. Take the fish pudding by faith. Celebrate the chicken salad, chicken noodle soup, and chicken hash on a waffle. Boston cream pie and the strawberry Schaum torte are a rapture, peppermint ice cream with chocolate sauce, bourbon pie and/or bourbon cake all revelations. 

Up above, noted speakers from across the land challenge and inspire. Down below, once-a-year creations and good company nourish. And in the pews and at the table are the people of your life, past and present, and the people of your city – those in charge, those in witness, and those in character, side-by-side in shared experience.

Nora’s surgery was on Fat Tuesday. Last Thursday was the second day of Lent and the first day of the Calvary Waffle Shop and Lenten Speaker Series. 

I went Downtown on day one and brought back, basically, a gunnysack full of all of the above, a Lenten sacrifice I can live with, an indulgence Nora’s surgery more than justifies. Comfort food for what ails you, spiritually, socially, physically.

Praise be.

And I went back this week, too. Chances are very good I’ll be there again.

Can I get an Amen?

The Calvary Waffle Shop is one of the most Memphis of Memphis experiences, a marker for close to a century of Lents shared at table. If there’s such a thing as a good time to have surgery ... speaking for Nora’s nurse ... this is it.

A time for new knees and renewal in general. A time to get better, and for homemade mayonnaise.

In an email to kick off the preaching and eating throwdown, the Rev. Scott Walters, the rector of Calvary Episcopal Church, put it this way: “The combination is rich in every way. But the real reward for the many hours of peeling shrimp for mousses and chopping parsley for fish puddings is the way Calvary’s doors open wide and Memphis streams in. Whoever you are, I do hope that stream includes you.”

I’m a Memphian, and let the people say, Amen.

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