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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Potluck (Meal or Gathering) Deadline 7-26-12 @ 10 AM NY Time (07/19/12)

TITLE: Sunday Lunch
By Deb Borrello


The pastor was halfway through his sermon when Emma snuck out the back door of the sanctuary. A few people waved as she left but they knew better than to follow. It hadn’t taken long to learn it was easier for everyone to stay out of the way and just let her do her thing than to help and just get in the way.

She wasn’t a controlling or selfish person but really she was quite the opposite. It was just that “Potluck Sunday” was what had led her to make this her church home. Emma still teared up remembering the loving welcome she’d received from the people here. Words were so inadequate to express her appreciation for all they’d done for her so she volunteered for the potluck setups as her way of thanking this amazing community of people.

Passing through the multipurpose room she paused to look around at the evidence that Miss Ginny had been there sometime in the early morning hours. All the round plastic tables had been covered in beautiful green linen tablecloths and decorated with simple elegant centerpieces. The four rectangular tables closest to the kitchen had white linen skirts and flowers camouflaging the base of each chafing dish.

Emma shook her head in wonder. It never ceased to amaze her how Miss Ginny could take an otherwise nondescript room and make it look like an upscale restaurant. Such a transformation was not really expected for a simple potluck lunch but Miss Ginny told anyone who asked, “If it can be done, it should be done. This is God’s house and God deserves the best don’t you think?” How could anyone argue that?

She allowed herself a brief moment to enjoy the out of place splendor before heading into the kitchen. Food was everywhere. Container of all shapes, sizes, and colors seemed to fill every inch of the little room. Emma quickly looked to the clock. There was less then twenty minutes to find, identify, sort, and set out every item. Today’s bounty made her briefly reconsider her declaration of self-sufficiency but she’d have to dwell on that later. For now she was one her own and needed to get it done.

The process started by sorting the food into four categories - “salad”, “main course”, “dessert”, and “other”. In the past she had often offended people by assigning food to the wrong category. Thus the “other” option originated for any and all foods that were deemed indiscernible. It was now seen as a challenge to see whose creations would land them a coveted place on the “other” table.

In the past the next step was to move all the food from the kitchen to the tables but lately she found herself prepping and constructing a salad before moving anything. Ms. Lindy, a widow living on a meager income, always managed to set aside enough money to buy a head of lettuce, a tomato, a cucumber, and a bottle of generic dressing. Arthritis now crippled her hands so she would leave her purchases in the kitchen in a paper bag for someone to wash, chop, peel, and slice. Emma not only prepared the fixings she brought them together in the finest glass bowl the church owned.

It was a blessing for that salad to leave the kitchen first to be placed on the table before the blur of activity of finding everything a place. Every dish was set out and presented to the best of her ability. Emma didn’t stop to catch her breath until everything was set out.

She took one last look at the tables full from end to end. This was why she signed up to do this each month. Everything on those table represented people. Abigail’s overcooked quiche in a fluted Pampered Chef pan proving that owning everything in the catalog did not actually make one a chef. Mr. Bates “Homemade Heavenly Chocolate Cake” which everyone knew was from the bakery but was so good nobody cared it wasn’t actually “homemade”. Natalie’s amazing chocolate chip cookies in a tin covered with tiny chocolate fingerprints. Mrs. Myers green jello mold which she insisted was a salad and not a dessert. And on and on and on.

These were here people. Her friends. Her family. And as the sound of approaching voices and laughter reached her ears Emma knew there was no other place she would rather be than having lunch on Potluck Sunday.

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This article has been read 266 times
Member Comments
Member Date
C D Swanson 07/27/12
Mr. Bates and I have something in common, I always bring the store bought cake! Hahahahaha.

Loved this sweet story. Great job. Thanks.

God Bless~
Laura Manley07/29/12
This was such a delightful story which told about Ms. Emma and all that she did when it came to their Potluck Sunday. You might want to consider more punctuation in future entries. Ms. Emma seems like a very in-charge person. In reading about her, I wonder if she should consider forming a committee so she doesn't have so much to get done all by herself. Good job!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 07/29/12
This is lovely. I so enjoyed the care Miss Emma showed in paying it forward. She had been blessed by these people and wanted to bless them in return. It's lovely.

I noticed in a couple of paragraphs you repeated phrases like set out and get in the way/out of the way. Once in a while I'd stumble over a sentence. A good trick to make sure your sentences flow is to have someone read it aloud. If they stumble, you may want to restructure it.

You were right on topic and delivered a nice message. I've read several descriptions of church socials this quarter but this piece really had a chunk of feel good in it. Your MC felt real and I could easily picture her in my mind.