Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Maya Angelou and the Chicken Breast

Remember when I challenged you to steal one of the titles from my story board? Some of you were up the challenge. We'll cover the "Green Twinkie" story another day. Today we're going to examine "Maya Angelou and the Chicken Breast".

My friend over at Liberty Post was brave enough to take the title and write something terrific. You can find it HERE. Take a moment and read, but only if you promise to come back.

It was quite intuitive of her to guess that Oprah was somehow involved in the story. It's amazing that I ever remember what I meant by my sketchy story titles. They are merely fleeting thoughts that I think might develop into something interesting but the truth is that often times I can barely remember what I had in mind.

I do remember this one. It's a perfect follow up to yesterday's post because the story involves cooking and nurturing.

Oprah was doing her "dinner with the author" events at the time. She would invite some of her viewers to enjoy dinner with an author featured on her book club list. This particular dinner was to be hosted by Maya Angelou and in my heart of heart I was longing to be one of those chosen few to sit at her table. I could close my eyes and hear her deep voice resonating through the room, commanding everyone's rapt attention.

For a week I imagined the fabulous caterer that Ms. Angelou would engage for the event. Surely she would have a hand in the menu choice and perhaps the flowers. I poured myself a cup of coffee and got comfortable in front of the television at the appointed hour and within 10 minutes I felt incredibly stupid. Caterer? Really? Did I really believe Maya Angelou would cater the event?

Somehow I assumed that world famous published authors would not bother themselves with such mundane tasks as cooking dinner. I was quickly schooled in lessons of sharing. Oprah joined Maya in the kitchen and watched while she lovingly prepared the meal and talked about the spiritual nature of preparing food for your guests. From planning the meal through it's preparation it's a gift that you give to your guests. It's caring enough to put together a beautiful and delicious meal.

Although I couldn't be physically present at her table, I learned a lesson so important that even the book they were discussing paled in comparison. She created a moment and they lived the moment. What more could you ask for?

It seems impossible for me to post without including a photo, so here's another portrait for you.


This photo was taken in Haiti by my friend Tony. I think this is such an amazing photograph on so many levels. This woman was preparing a meal for visitors on a mission trip. Her face and hands show hard times, but her honest gaze is unguarded. Look at her hand. She looked up at Tony but her hand never once stopped moving as she went about her task of preparing the meal.


carolyn at cranberry crossings: said...

You are a gifted writer yourself! I enjoy your posts so much.
Now I will go and read your friend's story about Maya Angelo and the chicken breast. :)

Have a blessed day!

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

Yes, that's a wonderful photo...the hand still in motion, the open, pleasant gaze.

I missed that moment...I've missed nearly all of Oprah's program for years. I'm so glad that you documented it well.

Karen said...

Went and read your friend's post about 'Mayo Angelou and the Chicken Breast'...very funny, made me chuckle.

Great post, Suzanne.

I was talking to a friend recently, about the Birthday parties that I used to throw for my kids. She couldn't understand why I went to that much trouble, making the cake, food, organising games, making little favour bags, etc. It was my gift to them, making memories, something personal, the gift of time and so on. It was also fun!

Karen said...

Oops...hit publish too early.

Wonderful photo as well. That lady looks so alive and connected with what is going on around her.

belladella said...

Powerful photo! You are such a joy to read. I remember that episode of Oprah. I adore preparing meals for my family and will be doing a big one tomorrow night. Can't wait. Have a great day!

Jeanne said...

Suzanne, you have captured me once again in your lovely way of writing an interesting post. I still have to click on the story and I am looking forward to it.

The woman in the photo is a study in humanity. Her facial expression is classic. I love it.

I have had a month of company, forgive for not visiting more. I'm back. Smile.


Chris said...

Darn it Suzanne! Some days I feel so inadequate! I had just finished posting my own feeble attempt at relating my life experiences, and I come here to see your last two posts. (That is NOT to say that I don't find everything you write to be stellar!)

Somehow, you always manage to to flick on that "Aha!" switch in my brain and give me a brand new perspective on things!

I am truly amazed at how traveling thru blogdom has enriched my life, and I am so grateful that I dicovered your little corner of it!

Everyday Scholar said...

Your blog is just too cool for words! You make my day.

These last two posts are the best yet. Thanks for all your hard work.

A Farmer's Wife said...

I love your blog! I also really like your other blog with the pictures of the old farm houses...thank you!!!


I've had a shit day. Did I say shit? Ah, it wasn't really that bad, but it was very busy and filled with stress and deadlines and driving every person in the family here and there and everywhere and I don't even know if I've brushed my teeth yet. (gross) But you dear friend make my day, every day. Your writing is perfecto. So the crappy day is not looking darn swell. (even though there are only 7 minutes left)


Is NOW looking darn swell - is what I meant to say....with only 5 minutes saved the day!

Louise said...

I love the way this story is written as well as the topic. Food for guests IS a gift. It doesn't have to be elaborate, but it has to include part of ourselves. Your words brought that out.

The picture from Haiti is priceless.