Friday, July 26, 2013

Dinner with the Woods & lunch for Zone Conference

The P.E. area couples with President and Sister Wood before Zone Conferences at Kwano  July 11 & P.E. on  July 12
Two senior couples were arriving in P.E. to help with the Port Elizabeth Zone Conference on July 12th.  (Neither are pictured above.)  I will call them couple A, who were staying with us and couple B, who were staying with the Van Sickles. Elder Stokoe and I were working at Motherwell the day they were scheduled to arrive.   I worried that we would not be at home so I left a key a neighbour and instructed her let them in should they arrive before we got home.  We had no word from either the A's or the B's.  We were famished after spending the day hanging curtains in the Relief Society Room.  We stopped for dinner on our way home.  Our cell phone rang.  It was Sister B wanting to know where the Van Sickles were.   (They are the couple on the far right.  The Sherberts are next to them.)   

"I don't know," Tom said.   "Likely with the Sherberts catering the Zone Conference at Kwanobushle."    Sister B said she wanted to invite us and the Van Sickles to dinner.  "Where are you now?" Elder Stokoe asked.

"Somewhere by the ocean, near Walmar," she replied.  Tom declined saying we would see them later.  We were tired and had yet to shop for the luncheon the next day. 

It had been several weeks since we met with the A's ad B's to agree on a menu. I was a little foggy about what we had finally decided for a main dish.  I knew we had each agreed to make part of it.  We also agreed to buy french bread, fruit and to bring a pan of brownies.  I thought we had decided to serve spaghetti.  Sister B had called the previous day to say she had e-mail me a receipt but had made a mistake in her ingredients.   "Sister A will explain what you need to know when she arrives."   I never received her receipt for lasagne.  Since I know how to make spaghetti I never gave it a second thought.

After finishing dinner we went shopping and bought ingredience for spaghetti. Tom insisted on buying much more french bread than I thought we needed.  But it's hard to find french bread in S.A.   When couple A arrived, I discovered that the main dish was lasagna and not spaghetti.  What to do?   By then all the stores were closed and we were scheduled to be at the church by 9:15 the next morning.   Tom suggested that we cook up all our spaghetti and serve both dishes.  But Sister A feared that the elders would like our spaghetti better than the lasagne. I called Sister Van Sickle.   She donated everything I needed to make one large pan of lasagna.

Sister B had wanted all the fruit cut up but by midnight, it was much too late to do anything about that.  Neither Sister A nor Sister B had bought napkins, paper plates or plastic cups.   We had everything including the flatwear, so we boxed it all up saying, "Don't worry.  We will take care of setting up the tables and we will provide all the paper products."  

Couple A worried about couple B being late and delaying them.  This had happened before.  The As always drive the Bs since Elder B had his drivers license stolen.   Most likely the B's would once again cause the A's to be late.  "Don't worry!" I said,  "We will go early and get everything ready.  Then we can all attend President Wood's talk."

We arrived at 8:30 just as President and Sister Wood drove through the gate.  The elders helped us carry in all our boxes and set up tables.  Both the A's and I had cooked our pans of lasagna that morning so it was just a matter of keeping it warm until noon.  Sister Wood and I attended the A.P.'s training while President Wood conducted some PPI's.  Couple A & B finally arrived one hour late.   After they found that we had everything set up and in good order, they joined us to hear President Wood's talk.

Sister B pulled me aside and whispered, "Sorry we could not make it on time today.  We are staying with the Van Sickles and we needed to give them their space.  They had to leave early.  So we waited until they were gone before we got up.  Then I put my pan of lasagna in the oven.  Of course we had to wait until it was cooked before we could leave."

Then she announced,  "Sister Van Sickle told me to be sure to cut eight pieces per pan or there will not be enough lasagna for everyone."    This really bothered me.  Sisters A & B had never catered a Zone Conference before yet Sister B was calling all the shots.   We have always prepared enough food for the elders to have second helpings.  

Tom had buttered all eight loves of our French Bread.   Sister A had brought only four small loaves.  Sister B had forgotten to buy french bread.   Still we had plenty, as well as a lot of fruit, and brownies. Tom bought three cartons of ice cream when he left to purchase ice to serve with the water.   We needed at least three more pans of lasagna.   I kept apologising to the elders when they asked for seconds,  "Sorry, but we did not plan very well."  Guess I should have done as Tom wanted and cooked up all the spaghetti we had in the house. 

At noon Sister B took over in the kitchen.  She started giving everyone orders.   I was so annoyed that I walked out and began filling up the water glasses and placing the bowls of fruit on the tables.  The small servings of lasagna looked rather lonely on the plates which the A's and B's handed out.  Sister B finally cut the last four pieces into haves.   Eight elders got another mouthful. 

When it was time for dessert Sister B moved over to the table where Tom was cutting up brownies and I thought they would come to blows.   Elder Stokoe said in a very loud voice, "Don't be bashful elders!  Come on over and dish up as much ice cream as you can eat. " 

Then Sister B. announced, "Those who don't have dessert would you raise your hands" while continuing to place a tiny scoop of ice cream on each brownie.  She was not successful in getting any of the elders to line up.   They all went to Tom's side of the table where they scooped up ice cream for themselves.  He looked directly at her and said, "Here we let the elder's help themselves."   But Sister B kept on scooping.

I had told couple A that it might be better if the B's drove when they came to P.E. together  even though Elder B. had his license stolen.  If the B's drove then the A's could be dropped off at our house and go to the meetings with us.  Then the B's could come at their leisure.  

Sister A asked if I would please tell Brother B about my experience of driving without a license in an effort to nudge him to share chaffering responsibilities.   So when everything had been cleaned up and put away and they were preparing to leave,  I told Brother B. that President Wood said it was okay for me to drive without a license.   If I were pulled over I should say that my license had been stolen and pull out my pass port which would suffice. 

Elder B replied,  "I know countries like South Africa with police looking for an excuse to get a bribe.  I'm not going to risk it."  Elder Stokoe and I are not looking forward to catering another luncheon with these people.  We leave on October 15th.  Hopefully there will not be another Zone Conference before we are released.

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