Tiramisu with a Side of SpaghettiO’s
“Ladies, who is willing to…”
Cutting the speaker short with hand in air, Clara’s clangorous charm bracelet drew all eyes to her as she blurted, “I’ll do the entrée.”
Smiles adorned faces all around the room. Of course, Clara will do the entrée. Just like Clara volunteered to be Sunday School secretary, Women’s Missions leader, AWANA leader, choir alto, prayer-chain hostess and sanctuary-flower arranger. Some people are said to “be at church every time the door is open”. But, Clara West had her own key.
“Jackie, this is going to be so much fun,” Clara offered as she opened the door to her van and pushed aside some of its contents of boxes, flowers, papers, books and more. Best friends for years, Jackie and Clara often rode to church together.
“Imagine, a progressive dinner. This is just what we need to do to impress our new pastor,” Clara said as she glanced at Jackie. “I’ve never been to one with a theme. Whose idea was it to choose ‘Foreign Lands ’?”
“I think it has to do with Vacation Bible School this year. You don’t think it’s rushing it a bit? Pastor Brooks is just getting his family settled into the parsonage.” Jackie’s practical thinking was never strong enough to cool Clara’s enthusiasm.
“Oh, it will be just the thing to welcome him. Call you later.” Clara pulled up to Jackie’s walkway and watched as she safely entered her front door and the lights went on.
Clara pulled into her garage across the street. Before she had cut off the engine, Max was there to open the drivers’ door and help unload. “I was beginning to worry. You ladies are keeping some late hours.”
“And you deacons don’t?” Clara accused as she kissed his handsome bald head. Short, round and good-natured, Max had been Clara’s prince for thirty-seven years.
A bowl of butter pecan ice cream in hand, Max settled deep into the recliner and listened as Clara chattered about a dinner that the women had scheduled.
“We have chosen the theme of ‘Foreign Lands’. So, Patsy Long will be doing the appetizer course/China. Myra Benson offered to do soup/France. Sandy is to do salad/Mexico. I am doing entrée/The United Kingdom and Jackie is doing dessert/Italy.”
“Now, Clara, promise me you won’t get too carried away with this.” Max knew it fell on deaf ears.
“I’m not wearing a kilt!” Ten days of ‘The United Kingdom’ mania was getting on Max’s last nerve.
“OK, Max. Don’t get all excited. So, if not a kilt, then you can wear tweeds. I have just the thing. Just remember to sprinkle a few ‘Jolly Goods’ into your conversation.”
The dinner was tonight. The house smelled of Old English Furniture Polish. The table was set for twelve with Aunt Jane’s Royal Doulton bone china on a tablecloth fringed in English lace. Heavy Irish Roses spilled out of the large vase on the sideboard. Silver Sheffield candlesticks stood tall on the table partnering with the silver tray and tureen. Bowls of English walnuts were spread about.
“Max, that dog is as big as a cow!” Brutus, an Irish Wolfhound lay at the hearth, ‘borrowed’ from one of Max’s golfing buddies.
The dinner party was expected to progress from Patsy’s appetizer at 6pm, continue to Myra’s house for soup, then to Sandy’s for the salad course, arriving at Clara’s about 7:30pm for the main course and finishing at Jackie’s for dessert.
Clara put the British Sunday Roast meal of roast beef, roast potatoes and vegetables to cool on the sideboard while she and Max joined the group at Patsy’s for some wonderful egg rolls. The happy group gathered at Myra’s for some splendid French onion soup then to Sandy’s for spicy taco salad.
“Please, hurry up, Max. We need to get home before Pastor Brooks and the others arrive.”
Max pulled the van into the garage and they entered through the kitchen. Clara started lighting candles. Max crossed the living room and turned on the stereo. Soon the house filled with music from Celtic Woman.
“Max! The roast is gone. The platter is empty!”
“What?” Max, then Clara turned to glare at Brutus who lay sound asleep on the sofa. The doorbell rang and in entered the group, pastor and all.
They dined on English walnuts and Earl Grey Tea and adjourned to Jackie’s for tiramisu with a side of SpaghettiO’s.
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