When hungers clash

His name I have forgotten, but the image of him eating at our table is indelible. Every month on the first Sunday he would make his way from the back country to the city of Novi Sad, where my father was a pastor. A fellow Pentecostal, surrounded by a sea of hostile nonbelievers and Orthodox Christians, he came to our church for communion. After feasting at the Lord's Table, he joined our family for the Sunday meal.

A roughhewn figure, both intriguing and slightly menacing, he sat quietly, a bit hunched, across the table from me, then a teenage boy. A moustache which would put Nietzsche's to shame dominated his face. Even before the meal would start, my memory would play the sound of him eating at our table. It was the sound of my mother's soup leaping across a centimeter-wide chasm from his spoon through his moustache into his mouth. The climax of the week's menu, as Mary Douglas calls the Sunday lunch, was ruined.


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