Happy Thanksgiving from Wichita, Kansas where today was cold but sunny and clear. Sally coordinated an awesome meal with plenty of help from the myriad of relatives who are here. We also fit in a family ping pong tournament and spelling bee as well as a Hunger Games free for all with Nerf dart guns! I am amazed how everything comes together perfectly. Today, there were twenty-three people for turkey and it went off without a hitch. The following is from four years ago, December 29, 2009 and it illustrates the coordination of living arrangements with family!
During this holiday season in Kansas, I'm shuttling back and forth between Dave and Sally's house and Scott and Karen's home. I started at Dave's, moved to Scott's, transferred back to Dave's, and tomorrow will make the final venture back to Scott's. It's a simple journey, only a drive of several minutes, with the loading and unloading of a suitcase and a backpack. My itinerary has, for the most part, been centered on my brothers' traveling to see their wives' families. And tomorrow, Sally's clan is making to the pilgrimage to Wichita. It's a big deal. In spite of Meagan, Betsy, and Courtney doing the Lord's work as we speak in Africa and not being included in the final head count, there will be thirty relatives staying with Sally and Dave. Thirty, as in two-and-a-half dozen, for several days. I am in awe. I have a difficult time planning supper for myself, let alone twenty-nine additional mouths to feed. I sat with Sally and her son/my nephew, Ben, yesterday as they charted sleeping arrangements. It was as incomprehensible to me as my feeble attempts at learning to speak Mandarin. But, they have it all calculated and everyone will have comfortable quarters. Today, Susan, Sally's sister who lives forty-five minutes away, came over and the siblings cooked and shopped and cooked some more. Let me go back to my previous statement of incredulity. I have no idea how to plan menus for that many, let alone actually carrying out the cooking and cleaning up. No caterers- they are handling it all by themselves. There may be a glitch here and there but I'm sure they will pull it off. Sally and company are masters of entertaining.
When my classes cover Jesus dining at the home of Martha as reported in Luke 10, we talk about the most common treatment of the story, which is Martha's anger at her sister, Mary. Many scholars assume that Martha was the older of the two, based on this incident and the particulars of the death/raising of their brother, Lazarus. In our discussions, many of my female students, especially those with younger sisters, admit they would have reacted in the same manner as Martha faced with her circumstances. Now, factor that even with the apostles tagging along as they surely did, Martha was faced with thirteen guests for one dinner versus the triple that number that Sally is expecting over the course of days. Some of my students will tell you that any such gathering in their families is an invitation to a emotional bloodbath. Not my sister-in-law's family. Jesus gently chided Martha with the admonition that Mary, who was soaking in the teachings of the Master, was better serving the Lord than by setting the table. Sally's family has that part covered, too. All, excepting the little children, are Christians and most of the young people have served overseas in mission fields. If it's possible to have your cake and eat it, too, Sally's brothers and sisters will pull it off. And I am left with one conclusion, both religious and practical in nature; Dave married into a wonderful family.
Applicable quote of the day:
"Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family: whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.''
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