MY father remains in loquacious mood. Today he was recalling how he used to get the vegetables ready for Sunday lunch while my mother was at the morning service in Zion baptist chapel.
Apparently, she was very insistent that the carrots and parsnips be cut into baton shapes, not circular slices. Broccoli was another staple of the Feeney parental Sunday table. I’m not particularly fond of it myself; give me a Brussel sprout any day. I realise that for many people, the old B sprout is a vegetable too far. Strange, but there it is.
I specify that it was Zion that my mother attended for her religious devotions, not Bethany or Sardis, the two other chapels in our relatively small Welsh village. Perhaps you have to be Welsh to appreciate the point.
An apocryphal story that may shed light: a native takes a visitor to the hill overlooking a Welsh valley. “See that?” says the native, with an expansive arm gesture that encompasses the house, shop, public house and two chapels nestling below: “I built all of that.”
“Very impressive” says the visitor (who isn’t Welsh).
“Impressive, is it? You don’t know the half of it. Took me years. But now I can take my ease in the house I built, buy my food in the shop I built, have a pint in the pub I built, and worship my God in the chapel I built. That’s enough for any man.”
“Indeed it is,” says the visitor. “But can I just enquire why you felt it necessary to build two chapels?”
“Why? Why? Isn’t it obvious, man? That is the chapel I go to – and THAT is the chapel I DON’T go to!”
We can be quite tribal.
And so, back home, inspired by vegetable chit chat, to assist The Current Mrs Feeney with preparations for the Saturday evening meal. TCMrsF surveys the contents of the refrigerator. I do likewise with the wine rack.
“Sausages or pizza?” enquires Mrs F.
“Use By dates?” I ask, with that instinctive grasp of the essentials that denotes the seasoned pro.
“Pizza says 14/11/15.”
“We’re having pizza,” MrsF announces.
In response to which, I uncork the Montepulciano D’Abruzzo, about which you will discover more (via The Wine List project) in the fullness of what Marcus Aurelius described as “a pinprick of eternity”; never one of the jolliest lads at the bar, old Marcus.
Drink up, and do try to remain cheerful at all times.