I needed some chart paper for an upcoming poetry workshop I am presenting soon, but I suddenly realized I did not have the usual access to supplies that I had while I was still teaching. I thought about going to Staples to pick up a chart of paper but really only needed a few pages so I didn’t want to spend the money.
Then I remembered. I could ask a friend of mine who still teaches in my school if she could “borrow” some for me to use. She said she had some she wasn’t using and would bring it to me. We live about 20 minutes apart and she enjoys driving so she said she didn’t mind coming to my house.
She called me about 4 pm to say she was on her way home but first had a dentist appointment and would then pick up her mother and bring her along for the ride.
As I was busy preparing supper, chicken fajitas, yellow rice and black bean soup, I realized that she would not be getting to my house much before 7pm and would probably be quite exhausted after a day of teaching. I decided to invite her and her mother for dinner.
When she finally arrived, close to 7, I opened the door to her words, “What are you making? It smells delicious!” I asked if her husband was home waiting for her and she replied that he was in the city attending a concert. I asked if she and her mother would like to join us for dinner. She seemed pleasantly surprised and then immediately said, “yes.” She went back to her car to get her mother who has now become very forgetful and repeats herself constantly.
The dinner turned out better than it usually does and they were delighted and ate with gusto. I hadn’t seen her mother for at least five or six years since she used to live in upstate New York but now shares her time with her two daughters on LI and in Pennsylvania. Her mother had fallen in her room the night before and hurt her thumb. During dinner she complained about it several times so I got her an ice pack and wrapped it around her thumb. She soon said that it felt much better and she could move it for the first time.
We had coffee after dinner and chatted for quite a while. My girlfriend and I never had a lot of opportunities to spend time together because of our busy working Mom lives, but it felt like old times to me to be with her. They left about 9:30 thanking us profusely and telling us how enjoyable the visit was.
After they left I felt very good about having asked them to join us. It seemed like the right thing to do and the kind of thing that people used to do more often for each other. I thought about my mother who somehow always found a way to stretch a meal if there was an unexpected guest or two, despite the fact that she was already feeding a family of 10! That’s right; there were 8 children in my family and I was the oldest. It was a nice memory to have of my mother and one of the nicest dinners we’ve had in a long time.
(This is not my family shown above, but very similar to us during my childhood.)