It was a buffet fit for a king. I'm gonna get hungry just writing about it.
Ham slices with sprigs of parsley interwoven.
Strawberry and feta salad.
Green bean casserole, with exactly the right amount of cream of mushroom soup and just a few too many fried onions on top [which I'm actually for, not against].
Potato casserole that could make you cry. I do NOT want to know the ingredients included in this deliciousness. I promise the list would include butter by the pound, so it's just better to be ignorant. And eat it.
Cornbread with just enough jalapenos to give me pause but not keep me away completely.
Strawberry cake. Chocolate cake. Pies. Cookies.
Sweet tea. The real stuff. The "would you like some tea with your sugar" kind. That is, the good kind.
And more. So. Much. More. Platters and platters more.
I stood in my mom's kitchen, absolutely amazed. Because this spread wasn't set out for a party or a wedding or a holiday family meal.
It was for a funeral.
My grandmother passed away. Forty family members left the funeral and headed towards my parents' house. It's a Southern thing. Or a death thing. Or a family thing. But mathematically, this is always true:
funeral + family = eatin' time!
Am I right or am I right? 🙂
My immediate family arrived last, needing to be the ones to thank all the funeral attenders and gather photos of my grandmother, the guest book, things like that.
The home was all abuzz. The majority of our family, scattered at tables, had already loaded their plates and settled into the meal. Women from our church, lifelong friends of my mother (the ones that can scold me whenever they please because they practically raised me), had cooked it all and come ahead of the family to lay out all the food.
We didn't pay them. We didn't give them instruction as to what goes where or please make sure this is sat there. We honestly expected them to drop off the food, hug our necks, and be done with it.
But that's not what their friendship tastes like.
These ten women (and one dude- thanks, Dennis!) stayed for the entire afternoon and never slowed in their serving. Arriving early, they displayed the food beautifully, reminding us that this was a day of celebration.
During the meal, they walked around, through the maze of rooms and folding tables, refilled drinks and picked up trash. They washed dishes, served dessert, and consoled us in the process. When it was all over, they folded table clothes, took out the trash, ran the dishwasher, and asked what else could be done.
Our extended family felt loved. Honored. Served.
Our immediate family felt treasured.
The food was good. I mean, REALLY good. But the friendship was the sweetest part of the meal.
When it was over, my dad told me to write about it. Amazed as well, Dad said, "I think this is what (in)courage is all about."
I think he's right.
Written in honor of those kind women (and Dennis!) who served our family in a way that surely caused a standing ovation in Heaven. This is my thank you. I love you each very much.