Bobbie sat back in the comfortably padded booth seat and studied the decor of the restaurant. It was too dimly lit for so early in the evening, she thought, but the ocean view was lovely, though a little difficult to see from here. Ah, there’s our waiter, she observed. I guess that must be Kevin’s meal he’s carrying. That didn’t take long.
Kevin looked up and smiled.
As the waiter, ‘Terrence’ according to his name tag, lowered the plates to the table, Bobbie’s face fell. It wasn’t Kevin’s meal - it was everything they’d ordered. The tiny portions sat there marooned in the middle of the fancy plates.
“Enjoy!” Terrence said with a practiced smile as he backed away from the table.
Bobbie was so offended and her stomach so empty that she didn’t even try to hide her disbelief or disappointment. She just let her mouth hang open and her eyes throw darts.
Kevin recovered quickly and politely picked up his fork to take the first of his three bites of dinner.
“What’s wrong?” he asked, swallowing.
“What’s wrong?” she repeated loudly. “Nothing’s wrong. I like spending fifty dollars on a quarter cup of food! All week we’ve been overpaying for food, but this is by far the worst. I’m tired of it.” she complained.
After her first bite, a nibble really, Bobbie pushed her plate away. She wouldn’t give Terrence or this restaurant the satisfaction of seeing her clean her plate - rip-off artists!
She sat there fuming. She knew she wasn’t acting like the Christian she claimed to be, but given the circumstances, who could?, she rationalized. This place had seemed like the perfect vacation spot. It had history, culture, beautiful views and lots to do, but oh these staggering meal costs! It ruined the whole trip.
What she wouldn’t give for a covered-dish supper right now! She thought of all that home-cooked food served humbly, graciously and thankfully -
“We forgot to say grace,” she shot at Kevin.
Kevin was just wiping his mouth, his ‘seafood platter’ finished. “Yes, we did. I’m sorry. Is that what you’re mad at?” he apologized.
“No, but - maybe,” she said, her brain suddenly churning out ideas.
Terrence came back to the table then. “Madam, you don’t seem to be enjoying your meal. If it’s not to your liking I can take it away. Shall I have it taken off your bill?”
“What? No, it’s - just - fine. No.” Bobbie said indeterminately.
Terrence backed away again.
“I’ll eat it if you’re not going to.” Kevin was reaching hungrily.
“I wish I’d had the nerve to have him take it off our bill, but it’s the whole meal that’s unsatisfactory. It’s not like Ted and Ruthie make at home.” Bobbie said dreamily.
“Well this isn’t a church social,” Kevin stated.
“But, it could be!” Bobbie excitedly grabbed Kevin’s hand. The small pile of pecan-crusted microscopics fell off his fork and back onto the rhombic plate.
“What do you mean?” he asked as he picked up the morsels by pressing the pads of his fingertips onto them.
“I mean couldn’t we get tour groups to come and stay with folks from our congregation instead of expensive hotels? For a lower fee than they’d pay for a regular bus tour, they could meet new people, eat authentic local food with their host family, AND enjoy a covered-dish supper at the church. They could visit local sites, local people could even serve as guides. Everybody would benefit!”
Kevin just looked at Bobbie, his eyes full of wonder. He was reminded of why he’d married this wonderful woman.
“What? You don’t like it, do you?” she asked.
“To tell you the truth, there are bound to be a lot of liability issues.” he admitted.
Bobbie looked down, dejected.
Kevin continued, “But, I think it’s the greatest idea I’ve heard all summer - and we can do something about it right now!”
Bobbie’s eyes danced as she looked up at Kevin.
He reached for her hands and said, “Let’s bring the idea to the Lord in prayer.”
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