So it is that we’re having yet another version of what we’ve begun calling Souper Bowl tonight. (And if that’s already been trademarked, I apologize.) Here’s the back story to that.

A month or so ago a friend had a life-interrupting situation. Another friend organized a meal train. My turn fell during that stretch of icy weather. I had planned to make a shepherd’s pie, because I had a couple of those really deep, heavy foil pans on hand. “Because they’re deep, they will be easy to transport, and they’re big enough to allow for leftovers,” I reasoned.

With one eye on the weather, I considered ordering pizza instead, simply so we wouldn’t have to deliver the supper the next day, but decided against it. Mike peeled potatoes, I browned and seasoned some ground beef. Mashing the potatoes and opening some canned green beans completed the dish; and it was almost ready to be reheated and topped with cheese the next day. I opened the refrigerator, and picked up the foil pan.

“Wow! That’s heavier than I thought it would be,” I thought as I picked it up. It was only a few steps between the counter to the bottom shelf I’d cleared in the fridge. As I lowered the pan, I felt it buckle, and I knew that shepherd’s pie was history! Not ALL of it hit the floor—some of it stayed in that caved pan, but Mike and I looked at each other and decided we definitely couldn’t bring it anywhere. It no longer was layered like it was supposed to be, and it looked like…I wasn’t sure what…but it definitely was not something which would leave the house.

We ladled what was still in the pan into bowls– eight of them—and froze them for future use at our house, and demoted the rest to the garbage.

“I’ll peel more potatoes,” said my good sport of a husband.

“No. Here’s where we switch to Plan B. Let’s just ask Jet’s for a pizza delivery. That way, if it’s icy tomorrow, it’s their problem and not ours.”

All was good—until we asked for the delivery.

“I’m sorry, but we can’t promise delivery,” said the person taking our order.

“One of our managers just left for today because she lives an hour away and didn’t trust the weather. If you’d like to check with us again tomorrow a couple hours before you need it, well know more then.”

Not wanting the uncertainty of that, we peeled, cooked, and mashed more potatoes and opened more beans. There was already leftover meat browned and seasoned. It was just not going to be in as big a dish this time—only what would fit in the only casserole carrier I owned. I called my friend the next day and asked if she could have one of her children meet us by the driveway so we, old folks that we are, didn’t have to do her steps; and she was happy to oblige.

The next Sunday Pastor began his message with an illustration about a meal which frequently happens at their house—a meal which happens when they have leftover chicken. It gets mixed with mashed potatoes (presumably also left over), random vegetables which might be hanging around in the refrigerator, and maybe some broth. “We call it Mashed Potato Soup,” he told us.

He was going somewhere with this, I knew, but I couldn’t help nudging my husband and whispering, “That sounds like what we’ve been doing!”

Then, having a good visual in my head, I settled back to hear what Pastor Alex had to say about the members of the Body of Christ being integrated—no one being more important than anyone else but all working well together. That day, and several times since, I have thought of the times I’ve added some leftover salsa—or pizza sauce or tomato paste or juice into the mix, or some broth; or some cheese, or a couple dabs of leftover vegetables, or some herbs or seasoning, or maybe all of the above. I’m thinking right now of the delicious meals we have enjoyed since that shepherd’s pie fiasco as the different ingredients have blended, getting to know each other.

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Willene Tanis is a longtime resident of the Imlay City area and an active volunteer in the community. Many readers find her 'Perspectives' column to universal and uplifting