When people watch us cultivate or harvest the many faces of spuds and then hear our family name they often grin. They’re surprised too after learning that over forty of the helping hands mainly are the “Fry” kids, cousins and grandchildren.
However, today we’re celebrating a wonderful occasion here in the summer breeze. The aging front porch creaks, still with enthusiasm, as we commemorate momma’s and papa’s fourtieth anniversary.
An aroma of roasted chicken fills the air and warns any of the hens to avoid the feast. Practically everyone is here, family, friends, and new acquaintances, as the excitement rises like several of the colorful helium balloons positioned around momma’s favorite lace tablecloth.
I look down at our parent’s gentle faces, their warm smiles engaging, and then at each of my siblings. Several are at the table, while others line the steps chatting. Yuri, who came into the family shortly after me, leans into a conversation among brothers.
Nestled in momma’s lap sits fidgety four year old Tai-Shu, the youngest of our brood.
“I want that,” she rattles in broken English, pointing at the chocolate frosted spud wrought cake that sits in front of the guests of honor. The potato form is appropriate I guess, symbolizing what were known for.
Yuri clangs a glass, interrupting the busy conversations among family and friends. “Lydie,” he winks at me, ‘has something to say.” I give him a stare and mouth silently, “thanks a lot.”
Looking around at all of our loved ones I’m speechless, for the first time since I entered the “Fry” home as a shy and scared little girl over twenty two years ago.
Left on the street at six, after my mother had died I was scared and lonely. Many days and nights I spent huddled under cardboard or rummaging through scraps of garbage.
After spending two years in an orphanage, a couple with kind eyes visited one day. What seemed like eternity to them momma had said, eventually I would walk through the doors of my new home on Prince Edward Island.
At first I felt more comfortable calling them “Aunt Caroline and Uncle Ethan”. But as the years softened my heart and I learned to trust and love again they became “momma” and “papa".
I clear my throat as tears fill my eyes and the words spill out like the wetness on my cheeks. “Thank you for coming. I’m sure everyone knows the story by now but for those who have just met us recently I wanted to share it.”
“Momma and papa, or Aunt Caroline and Uncle Ethan to many, have owned and operated this potato and grain farm on Prince Edward Island for years.”
“It’s funny how the two met and even more so their last names that they were birthed with. Momma use to be a French and after marrying papa, she became a Fry.” My father gently elbows momma and smiles broadly. Everyone laughs.
I continue. “When Papa was eighteen he spent a summer in New York doing missionary work and took on a part time job as well, at a local fast food restaurant. There he met momma. Actually, they “bumped” into each other as they hurried to meet orders of burgers and greasy shoestrings.
They exchanged glances and apologies. That was just the beginning. Three years later they were betrothed and momma moved to “The Island of the Spud or Prince Edward Island as we call it.
People use to tease them about having their own “tater tots” one day.”
Mama came up and wrapped an arm around me. “When we found out we couldn’t bare children I was devastated. It was Uncle Ethan, your papa, who told me life is like a field of potatoes.”
“You plant and care for the crop but you never know for sure how they’re going to be. Just pray and tend to what the good Lord gives you and it will all work out.” Papa joins us with misty eyes himself. “Yup, look at all the tater tots we have now.”
Many chuckle. A few chime in “Happy Anniversary Aunt Caroline and Uncle Ethan,” Chocolate sticky fingers pat momma’s leg. “Who is that?” asks a small voice. I pick up a confused Tai-Shu and point to our parents. “No, momma and papa.” I embrace her tightly. “Yes, momma and papa.”
I praise the Lord for taking two willing servants and making miracles and a safe haven for many from just a field of potatoes.
So happy to stumble across a recent entry from Janice F. I always loved your writing and missed seeing you on the boards and in the challenges. This story is great and it is so appropriate it was chosen for a jewel. Blessings!
Come by and see a link to your article on the message boards: Jewel Chest We'd love to have you join us there, if you haven't already.
This was selected as a 'jewel' from the General Submissions articles this week. Congratulations!