Before the skaters go,
Or any cheek at nightfall
Is tarnished by the snow,
Before the fields have finished,
Before the Christmas tree,
Wonder upon wonder
Will arrive to me!
~ Emily Dickinson
So, I got up at 4:30 this morning and made a vat of oatmeal for the troops (The latest Omaha Contingent: two of our boys and six of their school mates) before they left. The plan was that they would meet the other van of children and Sister at the Denver Mint, go through the tour, and, as far as we knew, head on back to Omaha immediately following. But,
At about 10:30 this morning, I got a call from Jon:
Hey, Mom, Kevin says to call and see if we can come over for lunch.
Me: For lunch?
Jon: Yeah, if that's OK.
Me: How many of you?
Jon: All of us.
Me: And how many is that?
Jon: Oh, I don't know ~ twenty-five or so.
Me (After I picked up the phone and my jaw from the floor): OK, Jon. (pause) Bring 'em on over. How long 'til you get here?
Jon: About forty minutes.
I didn't have time to chat any more after that.
OK. Lunch for 25 kids (plus my own) in forty minutes.
Sure. I can do that.
A tall order. But, any time I might be tempted to forget how good God is, and how He knows all things, how He never fails to take care of His teaching Sisters, and how there are no accidents in the universe, I have an episode like today's.
Here is what conspired to allow us to pull this off without a hitch, as unlikely as it may seem:
1) Dominic and Michelle were forced to stay home this morning from the field trip due to the fact that we didn't think the vans would be able to swing back around and drop them off back at home after the tour. So I had good grown-up-kid help.
2)With all my excellent help, I had the luxury of going on a cleaning jag this morning after the boys left. We decided we couldn't crack a book until we'd gotten the house back in order. Right before Jon called, I'd just finished sweeping and mopping all the floors, and the kids had cleaned the kitchen and unloaded the dishwasher. So, the house was clean and the dishes all washed unusually early.
3)I "accidentally" made way too much chicken gumbo for dinner last night and we had about a two gallon pot left.
4) My husband is the stock-up king of the universe (and has a remarkably well organized food storage system down in our cellar, I might add). He has several 6 lbs 12oz cans of chili (good chili, too!) stored down there, and had just gotten a humongous bag of shredded cheddar and a big bag of Marie Callendar corn bread mix. We even had some honey butter still left from Thanksgiving, hiding in the back of the fridge. So, we had a quick-fix meal ready in no time! In addition to the chicken gumbo, we had a canning pot full (2 of those 6 lbs cans!) of chili, the shredded cheese, a salad from ingredients on hand, and two 13" jelly roll pans of corn bread with honey butter.
Every bit of it was eaten.
Here are a bunch of the children at lunch:
Here are most of them (except two, I think, and Sister) before they left for the trip back to school:
Here is how they paid me for the lunch.
They sang for their supper!