Monday, July 14, 2008

Time with Family

We've been at Victory Baptist Church in Sanford, Florida, for a little over a year now. One thing we noticed right off the bat was that the people in this church were friendly. And they like to fellowship. We average one or more fellowships a month, and most everybody goes to them. Even visitors go to our fellowships because they feel welcome there. Last night's fellowship was held at a restaurant in town. It was the first time we visited this particular restaurant as a group, but they assured us they had a private room and they'd have plenty of staff on hand to wait on us. And they did ... sort of. But I'll get to that in a minute. The restaurant's private room was kind of small, but we crammed fifty people into it. They had one long row of tables set up end-to-end, and two small tables to the side. As we kept coming in, they'd bring some more tables and set them up until there was almost no room to walk between them. We joked that we should have taken over the main floor of the restaurant and they could have fit all their other customers in the private room. We definitely helped their sales figures for this month!
The wait staff were a little overwhelmed and very confused. After all, there were about twenty different checks and not all families were sitting together. I sat at one end of the table and one of the waitresses asked me for my order. My oldest son sat on the other side of the room-at the other end of our long table. He and his friends called me and then I put the waitress on and they gave their orders over the phone since it was almost impossible for her to climb over all the people to get to them. She took at least half a dozen orders over the phone, and then I made sure the only ones she put on my ticket were actually from my children.
Then the food started trickling in. First came a couple salads and some individual servings of cole slaw. No one that actually got the cole slaw seemed to have ordered it, but it kept coming, so we ate it anyway. Then, group by group, we started getting our food. Well, some people did. I thought my family was one of the first ones to order, but my kids sat and waited as everyone around them got their food. We've had this problem before at other restaurants. Somehow, my family always gets served last. So we waited. And people offered us things from their own plates. And we waited. And my kids came and stood by me forlornly and asked if we had any food yet. Finally about 30-40 minutes after the first cole slaws came out, we got our food too. By this time most of the rest had finished eating so they started ordering desserts. Hmmm. Maybe there was a method to the restaurant's madness!
One time I watched a movie where a woman was invited to spend Christmas with a family she barely knew. She had no family of her own, and she was lonely so she went. There's a scene where she's sitting in the living room with them while everyone opens their presents. She's so absorbed in watching the family interact and have fun with each other that she doesn't even open her own present, but just enjoys being with a family. That's what last night felt like. I watched two men (our usual cut-ups) crack each other up shooting spitwads. Two older women across the table scolded them, but then ended up involved in the game themselves! People admired babies and caught up on each others' lives. Ladies teased each other about diets and encouraged each other to order desserts. Children played together and laughed at the two small tables in the corner. A group of teens at the far end spent more time laughing than eating. And everywhere I looked, I saw smiles. I spent time with my extended family last night. And made memories I'll cherish forever.

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