Friday morning was the frantic last minute detail; wiped the kitchen one last time, made breakfast for the kids, put them in their Sunday clothes and of course wiped the last fingerprints off the windows. It was a cloudy but beautiful morning for the wedding.
At 6:30 the first buggies and vehicles pulled into our driveway from those who had come to help prepare lunch.
When I met the newlyweds, I hugged Carolyn. Her day had finally come. She looked beautiful in her light cream dress. Next, Julia and Daniel help me set up six chairs on the front porch for the wedding party to sit on. From there they watched as people came into the driveway, some of whom came to shake their hands. Others were busy preparing food at the store, placing topped brownies and fresh fruit on individual plates, preparing salads, and the 101 other little things that go with feeding several hundred people.
Being punch servers we didn’t have a morning job with the food so we sat to the side chatting with friends and answering questions that come with hosting events. I was amazed at how well things seemed to be going and how great everyone was.
The services began at 9 a.m. with a German hymn. As we sang, rain began to pelt the roof. I silently told God that we would be so grateful if it didn’t rain during the sermon as there was no insulation in the ceiling and without a microphone system there could be challenges. I felt reassured knowing that God was in charge, I was excited to see how it would come together. When the first vicar, Carolyn’s father, got up and spoke the second sentence, the rain stopped.
My heart was deeply moved and inspired as I listened to his encouragement that in order to live in His fullness, we humans must be filled with God’s Spirit and His love. Matthew’s father shared the main sermon, followed by his uncle, who joined in the marriage of their hands. My heart swelled with joy at the miracle of God that united these two pure young people into one.
Immediately after the service, we, along with several other couples who were also tasked with preparing and serving the punch, walked into the store’s normally finish room, where there was a table with instructions for making the drink. The concentrate had been mixed and placed in gallon buckets prior to the wedding and placed in the freezer. It was now ready to be shredded and dumped into a 30 gallon container until ready to serve.
Next came lunch and we talked about some of the most amazing foods. Now I’ve had mashed potatoes and gravy and chicken more times than I could ever count, but I honestly think this was one of the best ever! And the wedding salad was as delicious as ever. When we were fed up with hot dishes, a dessert was served. The individual plates of brownies topped with creamy pink filling and fresh fruit not only looked pretty but were delicious with individual sundaes.
We enjoyed chatting with others around the table, meeting more people and reconnecting with those from years past.
When our plates were empty we went to the punch station. This time we dumped 20½ two liter bottles of ginger ale into the concentrate. In doing so, we discovered that six gallons of punch mix had been placed in another freezer and therefore could not be removed from the freezer that morning. It was rock hard, and punch was due to be served to the guests shortly. We debated; We tasted what we had. Too boring, not an option. No, we do not have a microwave for defrosting. While Daniel stirred the punch keg and worked to thaw the chopped concentrate, the other three boys made their way to the house. In the bathtub they placed all six buckets of frozen mix and filled the tub with steaming hot water. When the concentrate thawed, they poured it into other buckets.
Meanwhile, Julia, Austin and the other seven children Carolyn had taught at school stood by and sang two songs for her. I loved every bit of it.
By now the Punch boys were back in the target area and had dumped everything into the 30 gallon keg. Daniel stirred vigorously again and off we went.
It was ready to serve in no time. We served punch while the congregation sang songs from the wedding booklets that Matthew and Carolyn had put together. My heart swelled in awe of the Lord as they sang, “You are the one we worship, You give the healing and grace our hearts always hunger for…”
All too quickly they finished singing the eight songs. In no time the shop was filled with a babble of voices as people on all sides were soon deep in conversation. At 5 o’clock it was dinner time. After dinner, Matthew and Carolyn, with the help of the Witnesses, opened their presents.
By 8pm everyone had moved out, including the new couple who had moved into their new home.
It’s been a good day, packed with friendships, food, but then it feels so good to just be together as a family again after it’s all over!
Cheese One Pot Pasta
1 liter of chicken broth
1 liter of water
1 stick of butter
4 teaspoons chicken broth
1½ teaspoons salt
1 pound medium pasta
1 (10½ oz.) can cream of chicken soup
½ cup melted cheese (such as Velveeta)
Bring the first four ingredients to a boil in a large kettle.
Meanwhile, melt butter over medium heat. Continue heating until butter is nicely browned, then add cheese and chicken soup. Continue heating until the cheese has melted.
Once the water mixture is boiling, add the pasta and bring to the boil again.
Next add butter mixture and remove from heat.
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