1. It's raining today.
2. It's October.
3. My blasted fall allergies are in full attack.
4. We're going camping.
Any one of these factors occurring in isolation could result in a monster pot of killer chili materializing on our stove, but when all four factors occur at once, it's as inevitable as my Daddy fiddling with his handkerchief while he preaches. Twelve quarts of the fiery stuff are now percolating piquantly toward purgatory on my front burner. Ahhhhh.
It occurs to me, as I go through the ritual of shaking the mason jar wherein corn masa magically dissolves and thickens in warm water, that we will be sharing this batch with friends who may not be fully aware that chili has philosophical and spiritual implications in our household. Perhaps it would be best if I offered a few words of explanation, a sort of apologetic for chili, if you will. Okay, then... we'll start with the basics.
I am a Texas girl. I make Texas chili.
I do not apologize for this, not even to non-Texans (bless their hearts) who wave their spoons in mute surrender and curiously change color. Should you appear to stop breathing, I can do nothing better for you than suggest more sour cream. Just so you'll know.
I believe that chili should be crafted toward the purpose of reminding you that you are fully alive.
I believe the Creator put the endorphin-releasing substance called capsaicin in chile peppers because He knew Granny Eve was going to bite that apple and that thereafter stuff was going be tough for all of us down here and we were all going to be in perpetual need our having our fallen endorphins all fired up. To review: Sinners Need Chili.
I believe the practice of sharing chili is therefore devotional and merciful in nature, a holy act of encouraging one's downtrodden brethren. (I know this to be true because so many of my loved ones have experienced quasi-pentecostal episodes whilst partaking of my chili.)
I believe that pot of polite, soupy stuff which was served to me in Nashville once was NOT chili regardless of the fact that the dear saint who served it to me called it that repeatedly; however misguided, I still give her devotional props for having her heart in the right place.
I believe if all American schoolchildren were properly fed real Texas chili, those taste bud diagrams in their textbooks would be wholly unnecessary because they would know full well the precise location of every taste bud they have.
I believe Texas historians will someday discover that the battle of the Alamo and most of the infamous range wars were sparked by recipe spats between burly wild wild west men at frontier chili cookoffs.
I believe if world leaders would seriously pursue the art of making Texas chili, they would no longer feel driven to tinker around with nuclear explosions.
I believe I need to end this post and go contemplate the providential mercies of capsaicin and endorphins and knowing for sure that you're alive. In short, the love of God expressed in a bowl of frito pie.