Sunday Dinner at Shady Acres. My Sweet Mama always had big Sunday Dinner for her family when we got home from church, so I guess it is in my genes. And usually I like to go to church at least a bit prepared in case there is company that needs inviting home. I’m not a stickler for having the house spotless, but I’ve learned that good food makes it less imperative that everything is in place. Besides, if I wait until things are perfect, there is no company happening. Ever. So today, a pot roast was in the oven (complete with a good marrow bone for Mama to eat on piece of bread that I baked yesterday) and it was circled round with new red potatoes that Daniel had dug yesterday and his sister, Lena, had scrubbed carefully for us. There were Lima Beans in the pressure cooker and Lena had made a blueberry crumble to eat with vanilla ice cream, so the lunch was pretty planned and ready to go. Christina and Charis were coming and Grandma Yoder and, of course Lena.
We came in after church and the house was HOT. I hustled about the kitchen with the many helping hands, and we got lunch on. Just as we sat down, I said to myself, “I am going to get out of this dress before we eat.” and since it was all family, I put one of my housecoats on and was comfortable. After lunch, Christina and Charis had a birthday party to go to, so while Mama slept on my chair, Lena and I cleaned up the kitchen. And then it was time to take Mama home.
“Mama,” I asked her, “do you mind if drive you home in my housecoat? I’m just going to take you and come right back.”
“I don’t mind a bit,” she said. “Just be comfortable.”
“Sweetheart,” I entreated my long suffering spouse, “do you mind if I drive Mama home in my housecoat? I don’t plan to stay. Just going to take her and come right back.”
He looked like he didn’t even want to be bothered. “I don’t care,” he said. “Do what you want. It doesn’t matter to me.”
“Don’t get stopped by the police,” warned Lena.
“I shall try to be very law abiding,” I said.
And away we sailed to Greenwood. Chatting away the eight mile road that goes past the graveyard where a stone marks the grave of my Daddy. We came down that last stretch of road to the stop light at Route 13. The traffic was heavy and it took two cycles before we could finally get through the light. Sitting there, waiting for the light to change, my car made another one of its warning beeps that I still don’t always catch. I looked down at the gauges and wondered again what was amiss. And suddenly realized that this annoying beep was the low fuel warning. Wait. What??? I had NO FUEL. As in the gauge was barely hanging on the underside of empty.
Now, my first reaction was to be very cross with my husband. I had asked him to get gas last night when he went out late for milk. The reason I knew we were going to soon need to fill up was that . . . well, um, IhadforgottentofillitupwhenIhadgottengroceriesintheafternoon. But when I voiced my concern, he said he thought we would have enough for what we needed to do today and since the hour was late and he was exceedingly tired and he needed to preach this morning, he made the arbitrary decision that we didn’t need gas.
And now, here I was, on a Sunday, when we do not shop or buy gas as a matter of principal, and not only that — I was in my housecoat, for crying out loud, and I was most definitely almost out of gas. I decided a call to a Certain Man was in order. I was just wasting my time, though. I know this guy pretty well, and I don’t know what I expected him to say any differently than he did.
“You are going to just have to stop and get some gas,” he said, matter of factly, but with a snicker in his voice. “There is a gas station right there in Greenwood.”
“But I’m in my housecoat,” I wailed. “Do you think that just MAYBE I can make it home on what I have in the tank?”
“Well, Hon,” he said, a little less patiently. “What if you don’t? It will be less conspicuous for you to pump gas in your housecoat than it will be for you to WALK in your house coat.”
WALK??? Who said anything about WALKING??? I was thinking he would come and rescue me if I ran out of gas. This bore some consideration.
“What if I see someone I know?” I asked a bit anxiously. “With my luck, someone from church will have the same emergency I have and we will meet at the pumps.”
“So? What’s wrong with that? You will both be pumping gas on Sunday.”
“But they won’t be in their housecoat,” I said, still wailing a bit.
“Just go to the last bay, as far on the end as you can go. You’ll be fine.” And that was that.
So I delivered my Sweet Mama safely home, we listened to her phone messages and got her situated and I headed back out to the gas station. In the very last bay, shielding all eyes from the east, was a large large SUV pulling a big motor home. I sneaked my way into the other side of the bay and was glad to see that I was very protected from peering eyes on almost every count except for the family who was filling their SUV and enjoying ice cream in the warm, sunny afternoon. They exchanged pleasantries, looked me over rather curiously, but I turned my back, attended to filling my gas tank and finished without any lingering whatsoever. Over 19 gallons in my (approximately) 20 gallon tank. I might have made it back to Milford, but it really was rather “iffy.” I felt very contented. Certain Man was right. I would much rather have filled my tank in my housecoat than to have had to walk.
I wonder if he really would have made me walk. I tend to think not — but I’m not in any mood to find out.