A fellow in South Carolina recently thought he was opening a can of gravy, but instead opened a can of whoop-ass.
Aiken County sheriff's deputies responded to an assault call, in which a juvenile told them his older brother accused him of eating the can of gravy.
"The juvenile left the kitchen and the subject followed him and threw a piece of chicken at him," the Aiken Standard reported.
Punching and biting ensued, not on the chicken, but on each other.
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"The subject told police he did assault his younger brother because 'he was eating all the food in the house,' " the newspaper reported.
I've heard of assaults over lumpy gravy.
And I know that good gravy is worth a fight. If it's as good as my mama's gravy, defending it would even be worth 30 days in the hole.
But I have never heard of a can of gravy.
If it's anything like a can of biscuits, I doubt that even the bird dogs would fight over it.
I come from a long line of canners. They can vegetables, jellies and pickles. They always warn that if the lids don't pop, you might die. It's like a lot of other stories told around a country kitchen, usually involving snakes, designed to make a kid feel the bony finger of death.
These same people made a lot of gravy. And we spooned it on biscuits cut open and steaming. We poured it on rice, mashed potatoes, pot roast, sliced turkey, fried sausage and country ham biscuits. But we never put it in a can.
Gravy and biscuits kept my people alive, their blood pressure soaring in the Georgia sun until the Lord called them home in the twinkling of an eye.
In my mother's generation, the kids had to wait until the adults finished eating before it was their turn.
Mama's cousin Little Bob told me how it was. Little Bob was not little, but he was not to be confused with Uncle Bob either, who had another brother named Bob but went by RP.
By the time Uncle Bob, Uncle RP, Uncle Charlie, Uncle Alex, Grandpa, Hattie Ruth, Lois, Annette, Fay and all the rest of that bunch got up from the table, Little Bob said, "the only thing left was the chicken feet -- and I don't mean chicken legs."
Which at some point spurred my sweet mother to offer, "Isn't it a shame that a chicken has only two legs?"
But to my knowledge, the food situation never turned into a fight.
Back before our society was fretting over food deprivation and obesity among the same kids, when a piece of chicken came flying through the air, the response was, "Thank you."
I've spent the bulk of my adult life trying to perfect gravy. Chicken gravy, beef gravy, sawmill gravy, redeye gravy.
And when I do, this much is certain for the lowdown gravy thief. Charges will be filed.