Jimmy and Edna: I
As a general rule, I avoid gelatin. I lived with this tattooed vegan atheist who told me it was made from horse hooves, which was why he was excited about digital photography...no more film, which is apparently preserved in...you guessed it...gelatin. So, I began steering clear of marshmallows and jelly beans, and certainly no Jell-O.
Those avoidances, like so many others, ended, I think, the day I ate cow stomach soup in NY in preparation for moving over here and finding myself in situations where I had to eat stuff I was not crazy about eating. Turns out, I was uninformed. I got here and the food was delicious. Other than the occasional anchovy pizza blunder, I have eaten well.
I have been visiting a couple who live downstairs in my block. We'll call them Jimmy and Edna just in case they've been deceiving me concerning their ability to understand English and stumble on this site. So. Jimmy knows about 5 words of English. The first ones I ever heard him say were, "little" and "drink," as in, "Hey, come in for a little drink," and he would hold his thumb and forefinger about an inch apart and squinch one eye. The stuff was like the paint thinner I used to swipe from my dad's tool shed to incinerate G.I. Joes and Barbies when I was younger...only less tasty. But, I suffered for Jesus, as they say. Put me down in Foxe's Book of Martyrs.
Then one time I met Edna. I tried to wriggle out of Jimmy's offer of liquid refreshment my saying, "No. I haven't yet eaten, and I just can't take it." So she fed me. The next time was an even bigger meal. It was just after Easter, and I had forgotten that they had invited me over, but fortunately Jimmy saw me out of his window and beckoned me in. Mostly, it was traditional Romanian food that was put before me, but there was one food I could not quite place. Now remember, I have been eating smoked pig fat on a somewhat regular basis since I came here. I have seen a pig killed and processed before my eyes. But I did not know what this meat was. It was lean, but something crunched within. Not like bone. Edna smiled, "That is a traditional Romanian food for Easter...pig toes." "Yum." The best pig toes I had ever eaten.
The words of a missionary in Tibet or Nepal came to mind then. She reportedly said that she had made a sort of deal with God concerning revolting foods served by her neighbors: She would eat anything, but God had to keep it down. I felt similarly. I had so much faith that night, and I managed to finish off the pig knuckles.
Then I went back with Darin a couple of nights ago. It was grill food, so I figured nothing could really go to badly wrong. We were having a fine time. Jimmy's breath smelled pretty heavy of paint thinner. And I must say, Edna had grilled up some fine cuisine. But they had made other preparations that I had not anticipated. Not in my wildest dreams. Edna walked to the refrigerator and came back with a plastic ice cream tub. Only it was not ice cream. It was instead various pork pieces suspended in gelatinous lipids. I expected a slice for me, and a little for everyone else. Instead, Darin and I got to split the whole thing, something like a pound each. I lost the faith from the other night and the prayer of the other missionary slipped my mind. I tried. I really tried. She even asked me if I liked it, and I lied. Oh yes...it's great. I'm just...full.
Some missionary I am.