Compounding the chore this year was a request from her church to bake two pans of her delicious Blue Berry French Toast with home made blue berry syrup for the breakfast which follows our Sun Rise Service.
Julie cooked until 3:00AM and got up at 5:00AM to cook some more. I thought she was cute with two hours sleep but she loudly said "NO" as I snapped the above picture.
When the pitch was made by her children and grandchildren to host the Easter Dinner I pointed out the amount of work involved and insisted some of her family come to help with the work.
A sixteen year old granddaughter with a boy friend came for about two hours. Inexperienced at anything taking place in the kitchen, the kids did what they could. It helped but the burden of the meal fell upon Julie's shoulders alone.
I was told there would be eleven for dinner. I had no faith in that number as I set the two tables for thirteen. At previous dinners expected guests never showed while a number of unexpected guests were brought for dinner. This event would be no different.
Including my wife and I there were 15 for dinner. As the number increased I carried in more chairs from the garage and set more places. Same-O Same-O!
Family present were daughter, Jackie, grand daughters, Beth, Breanna and Jillian, great grand daughter, Alexie. Grand daughter Chelsia and her boy friend were expected but worked instead. Other boy friends were Dan, Jimmy and Codie. Unexpected guests were Beth's friend Mary with her children, Abby and Zack. Boy friend Dan's sister Becky with daughter Mihalia showed up when dinner was nearly over.
Sour grapes for Easter? Not at all. The Sun Rise service was meaningful. The fellowship breakfast was very enjoyable with more people than expected but with plenty of food for all. The dinner at home was cordial and enjoyed by each and everyone.
From the youngest grand daughter, Jillian, to the great grand daughter, Alexie, Julie enjoyed each and everyone, even with just two hours of sleep. She also had gifts for all, even the unexpected.
When the same thoughtlessness happened last thanksgiving, Julie was off work for days recovering from that ordeal. A cousin observed that at our ages we should be guests at such events, not hosts. Her friend Carla told her she had to learn to say "no".
Julie went to work on Easter Monday but didn't make it through the day. She then reported off for Tuesday. She is sick!
When I announced that Julie and I would be in Virginia next thanksgiving the oldest grand daughter, Beth, immediately said that before her grand mother left she could prepare the thanksgiving dinner and they could freeze it. Although everyone laughed I don't think she meant it as a joke.
The boy friend's sister and niece who came late for dinner were both a big help cleaning up after the dinner. The family, for the most part, split! There was the normal unhappiness over the division of the left over spoils of war.
Julie doesn't mind. Why should I care? Her family didn't stop to consider their imposition. That they were thoughtless never remotely ocurred to them. A lot of kids, including adults, take their aged parents for granted. After all, haven't they always been there? The tapestry inside our front door says "Good Times, and Friends so Dear, Enter Here" Other signs in every room in our home say "Welcome". We mean what these signs warmly express as we frequently welcome our many dinner guests, a few at a time.
But we have replaced cooking with excellent carry in food at these small dinners. It is just that Julie is on the wrong side of sixty and it is painful watching her slower and slower recovery as years go by.
The answer? Lets see, now, where does one go for Easter? Almish Acres in Indianna in the spring sounds wonderful. Now, there's a plan!
Abigail Van Buren:
"If you want your children to keep their feet on the ground, put some responsibility on their shoulders"