Rick Bragg wrote that his very first visit to a church coincided with "dinner on the grounds" yet he had never felt drawn to any kind of religious organization. My daughter said that indeed, if dinner on the grounds couldn't do the trick, then this was probably a person who would never be involved in chuch. This same daughter wondered as a child how the church ladies could be talked into bringing potluck dishes for her wedding reception. She also wanted her grandmother to be a bridesmaid, so maybe she wasn't exactly a budding Martha Stewart.
When I was a child, I thought it was called "dinner on the ground" because the kids usually grabbed a plate, literally sat on the ground outside to gulp it down and then ran off to play. I enjoy dinner on the grounds in a more leisurely way now, and I thought I had the event pegged, but I saw two things last Sunday at First Baptist in Jacksonville that I've never seen before. First, there was a tray of sushi nestled among the deviled eggs, sweet potato casseroles, sliced home grown tomatoes, and fried chicken. I have nothing against sushi; I've just never seen it grace one of the long, heavy laden tables of Southern Baptist delicacies that make us forget that gluttony is a deadly sin. Then, as everyone who's been to at least one of these events knows to do, I deposited my plate on the table, picked up my sweet tea, and headed over to get some of the banana pudding before it was all gone. That's when I experienced the real shock of the day --- no banana pudding! How did 177 Baptists show up to eat and not a single one of us thought to whip up some banana pudding? Thank goodness for once-saved-always-saved or I would worry that this was a sign of falling from grace. We all ate too much and left happy, but at least one of us made a mental note to dig out MawMaw's recipe and make sure that such a thing didn't happen again in my lifetime.