Moving day was coming up for our son and his wife.
I considered the options. I could lift heavy boxes and tote them to or from a truck and then unload them at the new house. This was not one of my favorite things to do. Or I could go into the new house and unpack heavy boxes and put the contents away in unfamiliar cupboards and closets. Considering we’ve lived in the same house for 40 years and I still occasionally find an unpacked box, this didn’t seem to be a wise choice for me.
Another possibility might be to just drive back and forth between the houses and move nothing, but the family would figure out pretty quickly I was busy doing nothing. Besides this would burn up a lot of gas for no purpose.
Then I had a sudden inspiration. I could provide lunch for the movers. They would not have to eat sandwiches bought from a fast food place, or cold meat sandwiches thrown together on the run. I could easily prepare a good, home-cooked, picnic lunch at midday to refuel them for the whole afternoon.
If there is one thing I know how to do it is cook for a large group. During the child-rearing years, I prepared three meals a day for 10 people, day in and day out.
Of course when the kids were old enough they learned how to cook. My daughters agree one of their major problems when they were first married was cutting down recipes to cook for two instead of 10.
When I went back to working full time away from home when all of our children were in school, the oldest ones who were not working a part time job were expected to cook supper one night a week. When they couldn’t make it, their dad would trade days with them. I still took care of weekend cooking and training the younger ones. Incidentally, the cook was also responsible for cleanup. This rule really cut down on messy cooks.
The result of this early training was a family of good cooks, both boys and girls. Another result was I haven’t cooked a big meal all alone for a long time.
When we know the whole gang is coming for dinner, Bill pitches in and helps me in the kitchen. We both got up early holiday mornings and together we prepared the basic meal for the day. The different families provide all kinds of delicious extras, and we have a feast.
My offer of a home-cooked, carry-in lunch was gratefully accepted by the moving couple. I really looked forward to cooking the lunch all by myself.
Finally it was moving day. Bill left early to help move. I went to the grocery to get the barbecue buns and other necessities. When I returned home, I decided to start the barbecue and then sit back and have a leisurely cup of tea while I read the paper before I started the baked beans and other hot dishes.
Well, by the time the barbecue was simmering it was time to do the beans because I still had to clean the veggies for the relish tray and make the sour cream dip. Thank heaven I’d made the cookies for dessert the night before.
I began to suspect it takes longer to prepare a meal when there are no helpers in the kitchen.
The leisurely cup of tea was forgotten. In fact, any breakfast was eliminated. It takes a lot longer to cook when you have to chase every single thing you need yourself. But the lunch was ready by the appointed hour.
Again I missed the helpers. It took six trips up and down the front steps to get everything loaded into the Jeep. But, at the new house I only had to make one trip. The order to unload the food brought grandkids from every corner to help. Even the littlest one was happy to trade unloading pillows for carrying lunch.
When I left there after lunch, I think the movers were glad I’d done lunch. As I backed out the driveway, I narrowly missed backing over the trash pile beside the driveway.
I really am safer in the kitchen, even if I am alone.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: This column was first published in the Greenville Advocate July 18, 2001.
Kathleen Floyd is a volunteer citizen columnist, who serves The Daily Advocate readers weekly with her column Back Around the House II. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.