Good Macaroni Pie

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How about a lighter touch?

Mary Sue couldn’t believe it. Here she was, knowing all of them were broke as social security but not near on it, trying to save some money where she could, and all that got was ridicule. You’d think she was putting sugar on grits.

Back up. Younger brother Stick worked at the Café on the Square, and, on Saturday, the café catered a high-dollar deal over at the College of T.J. Dixon – the late T.J. was a big name in these parts — where the athletic department was busy trying to convince burly young men to come play some football – and they served these young fellers, all of whom had in common necks made for rhinoceri, a choice of rib eyes or eight-inch-thick pork chops, charcoaled right there on site, with baked potatoes, tossed salad (Stick knew; he did the tossing), and macaroni and cheese. The athletic department paid for the whole pile of food, even though there didn’t wind up being enough to eat it.

Stick brought leftovers home, and those steaks and pork chops sure were tasty on Sunday, but now, here it was Tuesday, and they still had enough macaroni pie – that’s what Mama always called it, macaroni pie – to feed several rhinoceri.

Mary Sue took it upon herself to help out; that was all. She figured macaroni pie was a right good side dish, no matter the occasion. She substituted it for grits at breakfast, potato chips at dinner, and baked potato at supper, and now, she had reached the ultimate. All she had at noontime Tuesday was a big plate full of macaroni pie, thoroughly microwaved, bubbling in heat on one side and lukewarm on the other. She found it timely to start out with the macaroni that was cool to the touch so that she wouldn’t burn her tongue right off the bat.

“Oh, Mary Sue,” Mama said, “why don’t you let me fix you a fried-baloney sammitch? We got some tomatoes that are just about right, and they’ll be so good on a sammitch.”

She shook her head. “I don’t like store-bought tomatoes no way.”

Tuesday was typically a crisis. Mary Sue had finally got out of high school, and she never thought she’d miss it like she did. It sort of made Tuesday what Wednesday used to be. When she was in school, it occupied her. She had ballgames, and Junior Achievement, boys were right there and available where she could flirt. Now a girl had to walk halfway to town to flirt, and, there, at the Morning Dew Inn, it could get right risky. Wednesday night, though, was prayer meeting, and it hadn’t seemed like much when she was in school, but now it was a place where a girl could meet up with good-looking boys who had mainly come anticipating good-looking girls. They could hold hands and pitch woo. Mary Sue had been meaning to get out the dictionary and look up what “woo” was.

“Mama, most days I eat a light lunch.”

“You mean dinner.”

“Most people calls dinner lunch, and what they call dinner is supper. It gets confusing if you keep calling it the old way,” she said, “but what I was talking about was that, lots of times, I just eat some cottage cheese on saltine crackers, and there probably ain’t much different between that and a slab of macaroni pie by its lonesome.

“Macaroni pie’s better, too. It just gets a little old.”

“Up at that café, they don’t even put no boiled eggs in it,” Mama sniffed.

              Read my blog about things non-fiction, and about me in general, at www.montedutton.com. Check out the publisher of my two novels, The Intangibles and The Audacity of Dope, here: http://neverlandpublishing.com/titles.html

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