A Tale of Two Jerkies

My parents ran the college group at my church growing up.  I got to chill out with them.  As a six-year-old, that’s a big deal.  That went on my kindergarten resume, I’ll have you know.  🙂

One time, at a get together at my parents’ house, everybody brought potluck.  Well, almost everybody.  Two brothers brought jerky.  I never thought of jerky as potluck, but they were two single guys who I’d never seen cook.

“Do you like it?” the brothers asked.

“Well . . there’s something wrong with this jerky,” Dad said.

I was immediately interested.  Dad was the unpickiest eater I knew.  I was even more interested because of the embarrassment this caused my mother.

“Oh, I’m sure there’s nothing wrong with it,” Mom said, picking up a piece to demonstrate just this.  She took a bite.

“It’s good,” she said, a bit uncertainly, I thought.

But the brothers were proud of it.  They kept urging everybody to try it.  And everybody who ate said it was good, too.

Now I was really interested.  I’d probably never tried jerky before.  So I pulled out one of the sticks and took a bite.

It had a weird chemical taste to it, like the beef had been sprayed down with pesticides before drying.

“It’s good,” I said loudly.

Mom, gauging my reaction, quickly scooted me away from the two guys so she could pitch the rest of my jerky stick in the trash.

“Mom,” I whispered, “it tastes bad.”

“I know,” she whispered.  But she ate her jerky.  So did everybody else.

About the time everybody had gotten theirs at least partway down, the two guys burst out into hysterical, very noisy laughter.

Nobody knew why.

Well, everybody was getting pretty suspicious.

Turned out, they had brought jerky all right, but not beef jerky.

Dog jerky.

I don’t know what is in dog jerky.  But I can tell you it just goes to show you dogs will eat just about everything.  The fact that they want to come back for more probably does prove, once and for all, as much as I hate to admit it, that cats are smarter than dogs.

I was able to overlook their joke for two reasons.  One was because Mom had saved me from eating more than one bite.  The other was because the two guys later bought me a stuffed Grover when I was in the hospital.

Dad really had no big upset, either.  He’d only taken a bite, stated how he felt, and moved on to the potato casserole.

Everybody else on the other hand . . well, had a little more to get over.

It was like a retelling of “The Emperor’s New Clothes”.  Everybody in the room wanted to be polite and say nice things, except my dad.  He just told the truth.

I love how real my dad was.  I love that he was honest enough to not make himself eat jerky made for dogs, or pretend that he was eating it when he wasn’t.

I wonder, though.  Am I that honest?

I don’t have to wonder for long.  I’m not.

I want to be, but I am still so afraid of what people will think.  It’s easier to go along with an objectionable comment, or at least pretend to go along with it, than to say it isn’t right.

I don’t mean I want to be in people’s faces confronting them.  But when I know something is wrong, and someone asks to hear my voice, why am I so reluctant to say what I know is real?

Is Satan making a fool out of me because I am trying to be polite and nice . . when what I really need to share is the Truth?

Truthful words stand the test of time,

but lies are soon exposed. (Proverbs 12:19, NLT)




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