Sunday, July 05, 2015

Mike Mode

I just got back to Houston from a three day family reunion in Nashville, Arkansas. It was a gathering of the descendants of Jord and Ruth McClure Chesshir and much of it was held in the land where Mom was born. We mourned the burning of the family home last November, one hundred years after our grandparents built it. But you can't keep a good family down and we loved on each other for seventy-hours.

Early yesterday, or Saturday morning, it was the responsibility of my brother, Dave, and my brother in law, Lee, and me to go to the McDonalds in town and bring back what the clan had ordered the night before for breakfast. The total was $132+ and the good folks at the Golden Arches handled it with a wonderful sense of graciousness. (I should mention it was raining torrentially with flash flood warnings going off on everybody elses phones- mine apparently lacks the capability!) We made it back to the farm in near record time and took the food to the screen enclosed porch to await all of the kinfolk getting up and arriving. Dave and Lee went back to their quarters and Aunt Jerry joined me. Then Mike, who is the husband of my first cousin Susan, came in and joined us. Mike immediately surveyed the scene and went to work. He asked himself out loud where the ice chests would best be deployed as the crowd arrived. He set up the big coffee percolator and wondered about the arrangement of chairs. Mike started to slice fresh tomatoes and peaches, placing the peaches in plastic cups. As the crowd filtered in, he made sure everyone was situated with their food and drink. He circulated through the porch offering the tomatoes and peaches to the waking up kinfolks, making sure all needs were being met. While all of this was playing out, Mike was washing the dishes to keep a clean ‘kitchen.’ You might wonder why I’m telling a story about breakfast at a family reunion in rural Arkansas but I’m always asking the Lord to give me stories and situations and examples to write about. Yesterday, it was Mike. You see, Mike is in the restaurant business. He is the regional manager for Chili’s, over all the stores in several states. (In fact, that's how he and Susan met!) In his world, he has the responsibility of seeing that people are taken care of. It’s in his nature. I don’t think he went into work mode at breakfast- he was simply being himself.

We all are good at certain things, perhaps some of them subconsciously. The scriptures teach we have different talents and abilities for a good reason- we don't need two left hands. (Sorry, you lefties!) Our gifts should complement the gifts of our sisters and brothers. I could not do what Mike does. He has a gift of hospitality and doesn't have to be in his home to display it. I'm not sure I really like the way we sometimes use that word mode outside of the setting on my laptop. To me, it implies turning it on and off at will. Mike isn't one thing in his restaurants and another in his everyday life. He is just being Mike. (Wasn't there a NIKE ad along those lines?) And I know he was not aware I was fascinated with his persona as we shared bread and tales of days gone by. I am just captivated by people who are on a level most only dream of.  I aspire to that level. The world needs more Mikes; Susan and Chilis have already claimed this one. 

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