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.
by AnnieLeave a Comment
Carol Barringer says
I feel like you may have overlooked one thing … deviled eggs. They are always in abundance!! Comfort food.
Thanks for this. i just offered to help with a funeral luncheon later this week, feeling, as I do every time, that it’s so important to create an environment for people to mix and mingle and share.
Your post confirmed it!
Jenny Borisch says
Wonderful! It reminded me that we’re all family and we need to love each other sacrificially.
Annie, you are this kind of friend–the feed your soul, fill you up, make ya come back for more kind. And I love ya for it…well, that and a whole lot of other reasons (like that you’re funny, and fabulous, and crazy talented) too!
That’s beautiful, Annie. It’s a true demonstration of loving through action – what better way to tangibly care for someone than to feed them?
Wonderful reminder about family and friends. Comfort food and those we love.
You and your family are so blessed to have friends like that.
You painted a lovely picture of service. Thanks for the reminder.
amy griffith says
gotta love that dennis! (oh, and his wife and all those women-i could probably name each one and they are TREASURES!)
What a beautiful picture of the body of Christ! Wonderful reflection!
i lost my 9 day old niece on friday evening. a tragedy, to say the least, for family and friends. despite everything else that we are now faced with (the grief, the lack of understanding, the choice to cling to truth and faith and God even though things of this nature, seemingly very unloving, do happen), we have seen an outpouring of community and love and service to our family in the days since. and i was in fact thinking last night how blessed we are as a family to have so many people here who care and who, because they are seeking after Jesus, have become His hands and feet to us. and oh have we eaten well the last few days! thank you annie and thank your dad for encouraging you to write this reminder that we are His body and how big a blessing it is to serve one another in love.
donna o says
That was so precious to read. It is a wonderful reminder not only that we are loved by others but also as an encouragement that our service to others may appear to be quite trivial, but they can make such a difference to a person! Sorry for your loss…
Thanks to your dad for “getting it” and (in)couraging you to write this. It filled me up and made me smile. Sweetness indeed.
Thank you for the vivid picture of servanthood and I laughed at the sweet tea description 🙂
Annie, It was our pleasure. We love you all dearly!!!
I enjoyed reading your blog. Keep it that way. vuvilsvfnnopwesg