"I've gotta do my job now." Joe says. Atop a stool, one knee on the countertop, he stacks coffee cups. Jack hands him a dinner plate, and he sets it in another clean stack. Work, its a bedrock.
Myra clears the dishes to help Jane. And I spoon pepper jelly over a cube of cream cheese. Sunday afternoon turns quietly like a babe in the womb. Children finish chores, and we gather in the kitchen.
"I'm so glad you set the timer for me," Jane says, "'cause I could have taken four minutes or TWENTY minutes to finish my job, so yeah." She nods. Around a countertop now peppered with hors d'oeuvres, she smears sweet potatoes on a thumbnail cracker.
"You are describing freedom the way the Bible does," I say.
"Oh, you have something on your shoulder," she says. She pats a white smudge across my shoulder blade. It disappears. "It looks like flour," she says.
"Huh, it does, thanks," I say. "Yeah, the things the Bible tells us to do actually LEAD us to freedom," I say, "like with your job. Get the work done and you are FREE."
"Yeah," she says.
We nibble hors d'oeuvres. Dilly beans and sweet potatoes, cream cheese and pepper jelly, olives, cheeses, bbq sauce, mustard.
You can have some of whatever you want, I'd said. Just don't go hog wild. And remember if something is expensive, don't eat too much of it. Tranquility ensued. Generosity envelopes us. Our appetites obey our wills. Work tempers our passions and improves our pleasures.
5676. Strips of fabric. I get the gift of new fabric for a quilt in rich blues and warm yellows.
5677. We get a new bread maker. And we make friends with the couple who sells it to us.
5678. Some friends in the Russian community invite us to a birthday party. I taste the best handmade cake of my life. Seven layers of cake, six layers of frosting, paper thin perfection, I can never go back.
5679. A Christmas sweater, the official verdict is in, one sweater has been named my official Christmas sweater.
5680. "I sent Myra into brush her teeth again since she was eating gummy bears in bed," Craig says as we sit down to rest.
5682. Some of the children catch a cold, then I do. We trace the familiar pattern of sickness turning into health, comfort.
5683. And we trace the old familiar pattern of messiness turning into order. We make the Herculean effort day after day, force ourselves to strengthen that muscle.
5684. We find humor an old friend. We laugh and let tight bonds become stronger.
5685. We rejoice again, Christmas is coming.