I've only ever lived my adult life in the South so I cannot comment on other parts of the country, but I know that down here when something happens of a difficult nature, the women head to the kitchen. I don't know if cooking helps to relieve stress or to soothe a troubled or grieving heart, but from the looks of my kitchen it would appear so.
A dear friend of mine is burying her beloved daddy today. She lost her mother to cancer when she was a young woman just a little over twenty so she and her dad have always been exceptionally close. He later remarried an especially lovely lady from Nashville and in the course of their thirty-eight year marriage her children and grandchildren have become his. So what was once a small family (my friend and her brother) has become a much larger family through the joining of the two families.
So on the one hand, it's a good thing the cooks got busy. Just two days ago, I sent out word about the funeral plans and the fact that a few of us would be serving a light lunch to the family between the funeral service here in Nashville and the burial in a small town about an hour South of us.
Apparently women in the South don't understand the meaning of the word "light lunch." My refrigerator looks like a sagging hippopotamus. Crammed into this standard 1980's two-door side-by-side model (I am still waiting on my stainless steel upgrade) are the following: One giant bowl of homemade chicken salad, thirty-five pimento cheese sandwiches, 2 pounds of barbecue; baked beans, spinach dip, tortilla roll up sandwiches, 2 bowls of fruit, enough chicken tenders to feed a small army of children, one large Caesar salad, a bowl of pasta salad, 2 dozen deviled eggs, 2 gallons of fruit tea, and a large ham. Not to be outdone, the kitchen table is laden with four cakes, two pans of brownies, a loaf of poppy seed bread, 3 dozen homemade rolls, buns, assorted breads, tortilla chips, potato chips, and just about any other kind of chip known to man. Oh, and under the table I have stacked up the bottled water, the soft drinks, and the bottled juices that friends also brought over.
Like I said, this is supposed to be a light lunch. And I still have to get it all in my car and take it over to the house where the family will gather. I think I better get started now. It will probably take me the better part of an hour, but, oh no, I forgot that first I need to clean out my car. At least my refrigerator will look cleaned out when this is over.
Don't you think this is one reason the Lord says, "It is better to go to a house of mourning that a house of rejoicing?" At least in the South, it is. You never come away hungry, that's for sure! You cry, you laugh, you remember, and you eat. It's a perfect way to celebrate the life of a loved one whom you know is dancing in heaven today!