“That Story Lady”

Angela Scott, Author – Storyteller – Ventriloquist

Archive for the ‘Friendships’ Category

How a Family Visit Taught Me the Value of Miller’s Gravy and Fellowship

December 10, 2014

“Let’s drive to a restaurant and eat breakfast before you and your family drive home.” Our group was rather large; however, a quaint restaurant was found with seating capacity to accommodate all of us.

Orders for breakfast items were recorded by our kind waitress with a genuine smile. Each time she completed a page of breakfast orders, it was apparent this waitress was the server our group needed. Thankful to receive good service with good food, my appreciation increased while observing her servant attitude.

With confidence she asked, “Do you need anything else?” In an adjacent seat, I heard a request for Miller’s gravy. It seemed plausible that I’d missed the listing for Miller’s gravy on the breakfast menu.

“Who wants the ketchup?” The casual question of four words from our waitress captured my attention. A cousin pointed toward the opposite side of the table. “Over there.” After a pause and an extended glance, I saw Miller’s gravy; it was ketchup. The visual image of ketchup covering an entire plate of hash brown potatoes and scrambled eggs is etched in my memory.

“Why?” The one word question slipped through my lips. Gentle laughter surrounded me. In unison the group proclaimed, “Heinz ketchup. It’s a family tradition at breakfast, over everything.”

That gravy conversation reminded me of the gravy Mom had oftentimes prepared for our family. Her version was a delight to smell and to eat. Even though a bottle of ketchup was a staple item in our refrigerator, we had never eaten Miller’s gravy at breakfast.

An African proverb reads, “If you close your eyes, you can see far.” When closing my eyes now, it is easy to remember the morning our extended family ate breakfast together. A substantial amount of ketchup consumption at breakfast precipitated a vivid memory from several years ago with a lot of new giggles.

Years have elapsed since we enjoyed that visit with family. The memory was and is a picture for a post card. It was the last time I enjoyed a 4th of July vacation with mom. Conversations, video cameras capturing laughter, a volleyball game or two, and the gift of time enjoyed in the picturesque mountains of West Virginia are now cherished memories.

Reflecting on that visit, I understand now the value of listening and observation. It is essential to embrace the myriad gifts of life with gratitude.

Although I may not eat Miller’s gravy at breakfast, I appreciate its value as well as how to order it. The distance between our family members is merely a noun rather than an obstacle.



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A Jewel on Earth is Now a Diamond in the Sky

June 27, 2007

So, I attended the funeral of a former neighbor a few months ago who was the owner of a family jewelry store. His jewelry store sells high quality of jewelry and gives outstanding customer service.

I had seen him just two weeks prior to his death, little did I know our visit that day would be the last time we would talk before his death.

My dad had given a grandmother clock to me twenty years ago when my daughter was twelve months old and the clock was old then. My daughter worked in our neighbor’s jewelry store as an engraver for four years before she moved out of state for college.

I went to his jewelry store and asked if he could repair one of the broken weights in my grandmother clock. Immediately, he evaluated the problem with the clock weight and magically repaired it in a few seconds before my eyes.

I asked him how much I owed him for the repair work. He smiled and said, “Nothing. Glad to do it.” He hugged my neck and as neighbors of 16 years, we reminisced about times gone by.

Little did I know our visit that day would be the last time I would see him alive. I did see something in his eyes that day, although I could not define what I saw then.

On Saturday afternoon when I received the telephone call that he had fallen at home and had been admitted to the hospital, I gasped. When I received the call on Sunday afternoon that his body functions were shutting down, somehow I knew what I had seen that day.

A quote I found in one of Max Lucado’s books holds deep meaning for me now as I reflect on life, “Write your sorrows in the sand and carve your blessings in stone.”

I had the privilege of living beside the jeweler and his family for several years. The abundant friendship blessings my family received as well as countless others were carved permanently in the hyphen on his tombstone. Life’s blessings were represented by the hypen between the year of his birth and the year of his death.

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