Monday, March 20, 2006

By request

Last night, Linguist Friend says, "So why haven't you blogged about the Fellowship Dinner? There has to have been a lot of good material there...

And he's right. There was. I'm not quite through processing some of it.
1. As you can probably imagine from the way my previous post ended, my mother and I did not get the bonding time I wanted. I left out of the first telling that when I got to her house, I found that she had gone shopping and she didn't come back for two hours. When I arrived to find her getting out of the car was actually my thrid trip to her house. Then I put the cake on at her house, asked her to take it out in half an hour and did a last minute run for cloth napkins. The cake burned, no doubt while she was dealing with some crisis of my brothers'. So she baked another cake and iced it alone because the combination of those factors made the timing impossible for me as I had a bigass dinner to run. With some urging, she dropped the cake by the church. Despite the fact that she was wearing my brother's old Nascar shirt (believe me, I'm working on this one,) I pulled her into the church over the objections of my father and showed her the room full of tables.
My "Hey Mommy! Look what I made!" impulse was pretty much quashed by her lukewarm "Oh, uh huh, that's nice. I really ought to be getting back..." response.
I'm aware that told ex parte, this story comes off as something of a hatchet job on my mother. I should point out that from her perspective, the story would probably be about the many irrational demands she faces from her three children*. But to me the whole thing has the familiar ache of a repeated pattern and the story wanted to be told.

...It is people who
buy tablecloths on their college "backpack around the third world" trips
who end up running fellowship dinners...

2. A lot of the logistics things did not run as smoothly as I would have liked them to. I have a lot of ideas for next year. One of my best ideas, and something that did work, was that I made an extra large table Saturday night (the dinner is actually two dinners, one Friday and one Saturday. I go to a big church,) and ran it as a Tapas-themed table. Anyone who RSVPed within the last few days, and anyone I'd had down for Friday who said they needed to come Saturday instead, was placed at the Tapas table and told to bring an appetizer. I seated like 14 people there and made a dessert to go in the center. The appetizers meant that I could seat as many people there as I needed to without worrying that I was throwing off the balance of entree-vegetables-bread-dessert. I used a funky tablecloth I'd bought in India in college (It is people who buy tablecloths on their college "backpack around the third world" trips who end up running fellowship dinners.)
3. I have an Emma-like urge to have little "social projects" going. (e.g. "That lady could use a husband, I wonder if I should set her up with..." or "He's so miserable in his job. But he does IT work. I should ask the CSO of he knows of anyone who has any openings...") I think this comes from being raised Presbyterian. Even as a kid, I noticed one of my parents' big goals was to remain the sort of church member who fixes other church members rather than the sort of church member who is fixed. (When I read C.S. Lewis' The Screwtape Letters and saw the lines "A sensible human once said, ‘If people knew how much ill feeling ‘unselfishness’ occasions it would not be so often recommended from the pulpit’; and again, ‘She’s the sort of woman who lives for others-you can always tell the others by their hunted expression," I knew right what he was talking about. That said, I have a huge streak of that quality myself.) I sat myself with one of my friends who is similarly inclined and someone who needs some help with something. In the last few days, she asked if another lady could sit with us. We quietly conferred and I wasn't surprised to discover that each of us had a little project we'd intended to ask the other for help on. Jane Austen would have a field day.
4. Saturday night, the minister barked "Wow, we've had The CSO here two nights in a row!" (Of course, he called TheCSO by his actual name.) I said something jovial like "You may make a sheep of him yet!" That came out more Presbyterian than it probably should have. For a half second, I thought of saying "If the UUA stops speaking for us politically, you might see him Sunday morning!" but that would have started a conversation I didn't have time to have. Besides, at least half of theCSO's antipathy toward church is that he likes to sleep in on the weekends.


* I feel the well-behaved child's urge to point out that me asking Mom to help me bake something happens once a year or so, while Jason doing something irresponsible and then Oliver advising him to do something illegal to fix it is the sort of thing that happens on like a weekly basis with them.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm reading a very interesting book you might want to check out: It's called The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout, Ph.D.