The Barely Detectable Machine-Like Rhythm of a Large Family Making a Large Dinner

There is a rhythm to large family functions - like Easter Dinner - at my house. It is a smooth machine, and unless you're deliberately watching for it, it is undetectable. There simply comes a point a few hours before the function when everyone in all corners of the house begin to gravitate toward the kitchen, and the cogs begin to turn the wheel.

It is a beautiful thing.

The men begin hauling and setting up tables and chairs while the women chop, stir, and slice in the kitchen, shouting to each other across rooms and over conversations while the children run circles around our legs and get into mischief. It is an organized chaos, wonderful to behold.

The gears turn and wind tighter and tighter as the minutes tick closer and closer to Start Time. All of us moving in tight circles around the Master Cog (my Mother); knives, hot food and hips moving around each other in an impossible dance as she orders us into motion.

And, twenty minutes before Start Time, the thick messy chaos beings to take shape. Haphazard ingredients become completed dishes - a toss of berries finishes a fruit salad, a shake of paprika completes deviled eggs, the large pewter platter houses sugar-glazed ham - while the dishwasher is filled and the sink is emptied.

Sons-in-law and daughters move between each other with quick feet and dodging torsos. Children are football-passed to anyone with open arms. Guests begin to arrive. They, too, feel the pull and gravitate toward the kitchen where they slip in-between the cracks and quick gaps and join their cog to the machine. The kitchen clears, the water is poured, the buffet is set.

And then - just as subtly as we slipped into this rhythm, we slip out. The machine sighs, stops. The work is done. We find ourselves all gathered together in the kitchen, looking and smiling, smiling and looking.

Which is when Dad stands and says, "Well, let's have a prayer," and a whole new machine begins to whir.


Grandpa Rusty said...

Yes indeed. You nailed it.

Tammy said...

Its one of my favorite songs