Today, after church, we had the traditional Lutheran Coffee Hour which is an opportunity for the Church Ladies to clean out the fridge, feeding it to unsuspecting visitors. That sounds bad, I know, but it really isn’t. The food is always exceptional because, if for no other reason, it’s a free meal.
Coffee Hour responsibilities rotate amongst the WELCA ladies, or whoever is willing to volunteer, and some of them make the occasion healthy by feeding us apple and orange slices, grapes, and cheese. It’s all good. I can make a meal of that.
The best coffee hours are those that occur shortly after a pot luck because there’s always tons of food left over explicitly for that purpose. The next best are the ones following a bake sale. Then we get pie, cake, lemon bars and brownies for lunch.
It’s just great and once, during a lucid moment while descending from a sugar high, inspired me to write a one page story. I write a lot of one page stories because by the end of the first page I’ve pretty much run out of things to write about.
So, to save wear and tear on my fingers, I’ll just cut and paste this ditty from, wow, 2001. You don’t have to read it. It is, after all, old. But, it’s pretty typical of our coffee hours. The only thing that changes is the kind of food. Today, for instance, we had left over beans, potato salad, and hot dogs. My impulse is to say ‘weenies’, not hot dogs but, as reported previously, I’ve discovered that some folks construe that word in an unacceptable way. Regardless, it was all good.
I regret I have no photos of the original, or today’s meal, but here’s one of some corn I had to eat the other day …
Now, the story. Oddly, I named it “Coffee Hour”.
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The service was finally over then we were funneled down to the basement and placed in a position that required us to consume large quantities of pastry and coffee. For some, this is the most important part of Sunday service. Pastor has expanded the normal monthly coffee hour to include all Sundays on a more informal basis. Still, it’s the 2nd Sunday that brings out the best in the Church Ladies.
On the way down the stairs I stop to investigate the innards of our mailbox, conveniently located on the landing. Nothing there. Diane beat me to it again. That’s OK. I’ll get a chance to read whatever was there when she forgets and sets it on a table. I’ll snatch it up when she’s got a cookie halfway to her mouth. Not that it would make a difference – I doubt if she’d even lose a crumb off that cookie. She would hand it to me if I just asked, but being sneaky about it is more fun. Or, I could go read someone else’s mail that hadn’t been picked up yet – someone who wasn’t here today. Yeah, I could do that. After all, their mail was just like ours no doubt. Again, no fun. I needed a little challenge.
I’m at the end of the line near the door to the front stairs and Diane is almost to the serving line. I would go join her, but Ev is between us and I know how he is about people cutting in front of him. I made that mistake once – it wasn’t pretty – won’t do it again – shouldn’t’ve done it the first time. But hey! I’m younger and quicker (I thought) so why not? I had that urge again because the lemon bars were going quickly and there was a distinct possibility I wouldn’t get any if I didn’t do something to improve my place in line. So I just marched up and started talking with Ev about something (don’t remember what) and just kept it up while the line shuffled forward. Those around us didn’t realize the drama unfolding before them, but Ev knew. I watched him flick his eyes toward the plates of goodies every once in a while (I knew he was checking the lemon bars) as I continued my meaningless banter.
Just before we reached the counter Jeff came by and greeted to me. This stopped my drivel and caused me to avert my attention from Ev to Jeff. Ev took that opportunity to swiftly fill the space I had vacated thereby sealing the line, making it necessary for me to return to the end and start over. It’s a Church Rule. There was absolutely no way I was getting lemon bars today. No way. Bummer. But, I had to finish the line. While I was working my magic on Ev, twelve more people had arrived, so there was a possibility I might not get anything. As I wasted away at the end of the line all I could think about was how thankful I was that we have communion every Sunday. Makes missing a cookie or two relatively unimportant.
As that last thought flashed through my numbed mind, Ev came by, paused for a moment, looked me sternly in the eye, then handed me one of the two lemon bars on his plate. What a guy! Sharing his lemon bars! Not many would do that. As I stood there in wonder, thankful for Ev’s generosity, I looked down at the lemon bar cradled on the napkin in my outstretched hand. It was a great lemon bar. Must have been about 3 inches by 2 inches – generous cuts by the Church Ladies.
Just as I was recovering from Ev’s kind gesture, Diane came over. Seeing the lemon bar in my outstretched hand, she took it with a “thanks, Honey!” and went to her chair. My eyes moved from my empty hand to Diane, no words coming. Once again I had nothing with a strong possibility of not improving that stance. The line moved on without me but that didn’t matter since there was no one behind to urge me on.
When Diane got to her seat she turned and said, “come on, I got you some coffee and cookies.” That perked me up. I wasn’t leaving empty-handed after all. Oh yeah, it was OK that she took the lemon bar since it was for her anyway. I can take them or leave them, but she goes into withdrawal if she doesn’t get a lemon fix at least once a month. Me? I’ve been known to do some pretty embarrassing things for an oatmeal raisin cookie.
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Now you can quit and do something useful with your time.