Last week, I was in the studio at Lightning Bear TV shooting my world famous Red Beans and Rice dish that is our College Gameday staple meal! This, in lieu of writing a 1300 word column in The Cross Timbers Gazette, was going to be a month off of research, deep thinking, and word processing in the night.
Little did I know that it would turn out to be three times the work!! Why? First, I had to actually formulate the recipe. Second, I had to buy the ingredients in triplicate, cook the recipe, prep the veggies, and pack every pot, pan, and dishrag necessary to make this yummy concoction! My next goal: finding parking in Downtown Dallas that would be nearest to the 4th floor studio. A lingering question: “How in the world am I going to leave two boxes of food in the hundred degree heat to haul box three up to the studio?” Enter “fresh out of Beverly Hills” Executive Producer J. Michael Brown sauntering onto the scene, shades and all, still in the afterglow of the Lightning Bear TV Open House just hours before. Stepping out of his Red Porsche I inquire,”Can you help?” Agreed. Whew!
I unload the three boxes of food in the lobby. He stands guard while I attempt to find a legal and adequate parking place for my new car, my baby. I find a nearby pay and park lot. Distracted by the presence of a homeless man sleeping in a nearby alley, I pull into space 12. I fumble through my rather deep purse in the heat and retrieve my last $5, exactly what I need to pay for parking. Still shaken up at the thought of anyone having to sleep outdoors in the Texas heat, I accidentally put the money into slot 15. Darn. I can still barely see the edge of the five dollar bill, but since I clipped my fingernails for the cooking show, there was no way to retrieve it. I have an idea.
I run back to slot 15 and it is still available. No one has used it because of the shotty parking jobs of Mr. 14 and Mrs. 16. Nothing more than crazed stage Moms trying to get their kid to the ensuing auditions at Lightning Bear for an upcoming Coca-Cola commercial. But I think I can squeeze my car in there. I run to slot 12, start the car, and rush to grab slot 15 and park legally. Meanwhile, J. Michael…still waiting with the wilting vegetables.
My flat-ironed curly hair is threatening to rebel. I’m sweating. This is why Rachael Ray has a personal assistant, valet, hairdresser, make-up artist, and kitchen prep crew. I tell myself “…So I’m not Rachael Ray” and think what a good country song that might be!
We finally get the food upstairs and I am all calmed down, prepped, and ready for action. Enter Ulises, pop artist preparing for music video in a few hours. He decides to help out on the scene and becomes a great comfort to me on the set with his encouraging words and feedback. Between takes, we share life stories and I listen to his amazing voice. There is promise there…a star in the making. He could rival the fame of Lady Gaga with his artistry and talent. After a few hours, we all high five, and enjoy a bowl of red beans and rice together–watching all my bloopers and blunders!
I convince the guys to help me carry the food down to my car so I can rush off to Argyle. We all
look funny walking the streets of downtown Dallas with hot pots of beans. A homeless man approaches. “I won’t harm you,” he says. “Is that food I smell? I’m hungry.”
My first Samaritan inclination was to tell this man that I didn’t have anything in which to serve the food. In addition, I had already spent thirty minutes packing it up so it wouldn’t spill inside my new car. Did he really expect me to open up a pot of beans and ladle it over rice INSIDE my car?? After all, I had to get to church! But the thought was very short lived when I looked into the eyes of this man. They were filled with hunger–more than the physical kind.
I told the man to bear with me while I disassembled my good packaging job, glancing at J. Michael and Ulises with eyes that pleaded, “Don’t dare leave me out here.” They stayed right with me, even though time was getting away and they needed to get to work on the music video.
I found a Rubbermaid container with the leftover rice and ladled the beans and sausage over it. “Today’s your lucky day,” J. Michael told the man.
The only spoon I had to give the man was my silver spoon from my family’s flatware. It was a small sacrifice. “Sir, whenever you use this spoon from this day forward, I want you to remember to put your trust in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.” I told him. “I already do.” He said. Right there with Ulises and J. Michael, we were able to fill the need of one soul. Oh how I wished I could have done more! Everytime I am missing a silver spoon from my table, I will remember this man. Sometimes the absence of something we once had is the reminder that we have emptied of ourselves, just waiting for God’s promise to fill us again.