I left the office at 5.30 pm in a rosy glow. I'd worked hard all day but could not miss the sense of anticipation and preparation in the air. Plans were being made for visits home and staff coverage over Christmas and the Big Christmas Party is almost here. Yes, it had been such a good day.
The roads were clearer than they'd been for days and I even ventured to the post office to pick up mail on the way home, finding our mailbox packed tightly with cards. I don't think one more thing could have been squeezed in there. "It was a good thing I managed to get there tonight," I thought.
I pulled up to the house and approached the front door with my laptop bag hanging from one shoulder, and a briefcase, lunch bag, shopping bag and mail in my hands. I had to press the doorbell for Paul to let me in as I had no hands left to fiddle with the door.
The first words he said as I came through the door were, "Frances called. She wanted to know if you could cook a turkey for Sunday."
I can't remember what I said, but it was probably, "What?!" or "No!" I've been doing very well, surrounded by the carefully managed (or unmanaged, depending on your viewpoint) chaos of my household at the moment, but with a cell group party tomorrow night and The Big Party on Friday night and apple pies to bake on Saturday for the pot luck dinner at church on Sunday, a TURKEY had no place in my life.
I didn't even take off my coat before I called Frances. "Hello dear," came her cheery voice over the phone, followed by the good news, "Don't worry, I think I've found people to cook all the turkeys." And while I peeled off my coat and sank onto the couch, we both laughed at turkey saga.
Our church is notoriously disorganized when it comes to just about anything. If you like even a hint of organization you couldn't stand it, so the fact that only four days from our Christmas pot luck lunch, Frances would find herself in charge of finding people to cook turkeys, is normal for us. I had been lulled into a sense of security by the fact that it seemed so organized this year. For several weeks our bulletin has announced, "Christmas Potluck Dinner--December 19, immediately following the service. If your last name begins with A-G, please plan to bring a dessert. If your last name begins with H-Smith, pleas bring a side (veggies, rolls, stuffing, etc.) If your last name begins with Stewart-Z, please provide a potato dish to share." Silly me, I didn't even notice the dearth of turkeys. In fact I would have been quite happy with dessert and a few "sides."
But there were to be turkeys and Frances found herself "it," the "turkey cooker finder," or, as she blurted out when she called one home, "I'm looking for curkey tookers." When she got the call asking her to do this job, ten year old Eden said nervously, "Oh, yes Mommy, I forot to tell you the pastor called two days ago."
Frances herself was having a big family turkey dinner of her own on Saturday after working on Friday evening and was handling the role of searching for cookers, or "happy cookers" as she put it, quite well under the circumstances, even though she had no idea what size of turkeys or how they were to be cooked because those instructions didn't come along with the job. We laughed that she could have had a similar response to Mary's when Gabriel made his announcement of her assignment to become the mother of Jesus, "How shall this thing be?"
Later in the evening, I was loading the dishwasher when Brenda staggered into the kitchen in her pjs, hair up in a barette, looking exhausted, french manicured nails delicately holding a recipe for "snowball cookies."
"This is very stressful," she said. She meant the baking. She took the nut chopper she had come to borrow and left for the nether regions and the torture of baking.
A few minutes later I was watching "Cold Case Detectives," when she came back with the recipe. There seemed to be a crucial ingredient missing. Indeed there was no mention of sugar. We found the correct recipe in my Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book. "It's nice knowing you're up here," she said, and left to resume the baking.
An hour later she came upstairs followed by an admiring Tori, holding a round, icing sugar coated cookie for me to try. It was delicious.
You may have heard of "the tipping point," which is, according to The Free Dictionary, the "level at which momentum for change becomes unstoppable" or "the moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point."
Well, I think that today, December 15th, may be the tipping over point for all of us getting ready for Christmas. :)
Proverbs 17:22 (New International Version, ©2010)
22 A cheerful heart is good medicine,...