this weekend--part two
The Bride at Calvary Chapel Marysville is happy, and beautiful ... and noisy. In fact, they're probably the noisiest people I've ever met. But it's the best kind of sound.
On the first Sunday of every month, shortly after church ends, we load up the bounty and meet at the church office for a potluck. As I'm not one of the plan-aheaders, those pre-potluck Saturday nights often find me standing in front of the open freezer, staring down and praying that a delicious option will rise from the heap. This weekend, still tired from the writers' conference, I needed something easy. And there it was--the last bag of crockpot stroganoff. It's not the best-tasting stuff all on its own; if you want to like it, you have to add cream cheese and sour cream and a bunch of seasoning. But it will do in a pinch.
I got up early on Sunday and started the stroganoff. By the time I landed back home with two loaves of French bread, the house already smelled wonderful. Fran, Jon, and their four children arrived just as I was mixing up my not-so-secret bread spread and slathering it on the loaves. (I know you're going to ask ... mix up an enormous glob of mayonnaise with several handfuls of shredded cheese (any kind or combination will do). Add a little cayenne, some garlic powder, salt and pepper, and spread it over the two halves of a cut loaf of French bread. Broil until bubbly. Try not to eat the whole thing yourself.)
While we waited for the bubbly, Fran whipped up a fruit salad. What is it about simple fruit cubes and Cool Whip that causes such rapturous anticipation? It's so simple, we could have it every day, but for some silly reason, we make ourselves wait for Thanksgiving and church potlucks.
The timer dinged and I pulled four cheesy delights from the oven. As I could see that "Don't you think we ought to test it?" expression on every face in the house, we did. Just little pieces, mind you, but it was enough to silence growly stomachs, if only long enough to get down to the church office.
When we pulled in, a tummy-tugging aroma met us in the foyer--that rare combination of baked chicken, tater casserole, saucy penne, chicken pot pie, and still-warm brownies that you find only at church potlucks. The line for food had already formed. We scooched to the back of the line and prayed there'd still be brownies. And there were.
If you could hover in a corner of the room and take it all in at once, I think you'd be most impressed by our ability to eat while simultaneously conducting multiple conversations. The noise level rides on laughter and teasing and instructions to "Bring me back some of that, will you? Just a tiny piece!"
Kids are everywhere--needing juice, needing a bite off your plate, needing a lap. I must confess that those little ones are my favorite part of every potluck. I held Mark and Taryn's twins--first Duncan, then Amber--until I saw ominous looks in the eyes of the other women--looks which told me I had to share. Noelle came to talk and play a bit. Gracie crawled under the table and reached up for me to take her in my lap. Rachel stopped chasing Brady over the chair long enough to give me a kiss. Joel poked me in the head with a Cheetoh.
When we'd sampled every offering and couldn't pull ourselves from the table, we sat and solved the world's problems. Chris and Dave talked about their new and shared passion--beekeeping (I will most definitely have to post about that at another time). Elaina D. brought her knitting over and showed us her work-in-progress. Merrylue brought me a chunk of chocolate cake and a sliver of carrot cake, which I nibbled while Sylvia and I discussed global economics (Ha! Gotcha, didn't I?) at the same time that Hannah and Cora discussed paint color (Cinnamon and Butternut) over our heads.
I gave my bread recipe to John and Laurie, and a few others who had asked. Jeff flitted from table to table, meeting people he hadn't met before and howdy-ing up the ones had already had. Another not-to-be-named man who found himself seated next to a new boy warded off comments about his body. "What's that long thing hanging out of your nose?" the boy asked, before adding, "Oh. I guess it's just your nose."
We're a funny, quirky bunch. I think you'd like us ... if you could handle the noise.