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Consider this quote from Abe Lincoln

"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves."



I see it staring at me from the corner of the room. I’ve tried to ignore it best I can all afternoon long. There was dinner, it was wonderful, an assortment of all things good and holy in the world. Ham, Turkey, that Snicker salad with the whip cream. Cheese and Crackers, corn and mashed potatoes. The fact that my middle brother, who is always late for every event, was in charge of bringing what can only be described as enough green bean casserole to feed the entire congregation of the Bear Creek Friends Church, was indeed 3 hours late for lunch, meaning that I wouldn’t even have to look at it let alone have any of it touch my plate.

I wasn’t the first to notice the tragedy of our family gathering. There was grumbling in the kitchen, and as I entered I too noticed that there was certainly a lack of baked beans on the counter. Had someone forgotten? Was there someone ill? Perhaps one of my family members had died and the next of kin hadn’t been informed? Certainly, it is not a capital offense for there not to be beans at a meal, but it was only a warm up for the horror of what was to come.

She’s a beautiful young lady. She has a wonderful smile, loves to laugh and loves everyone in her family. She was the first to notice it…as she and I stood in the kitchen staring at pots and pans and Pyrex dishes full of food. She turned to me with the most painful expression I have ever seen in her young eyes as she whispered…. “I sure wish Grandma Bev had remembered to make ham balls”. Yes! That was it! I knew certainly that something was unpleasantly wrong about this meal. And through the eyes of a young girl we saw it. The lack of ham balls was disturbing.

We ate quietly, it was as though we were sitting up with a corpse trying hard not to make a sound that would remind us of the suffering it is to live without the ham balls made from her loving hands. We tried not to look at her, lest she see the disappointment and despair in our eyes.

After the annual Easter Egg rugby style hunt we settled back down into grazing mode. I had seen it staring at me all day. Sitting there just trying to act aloof as though it was beaconing me closer. Yes, friends, the desert table was mocking me. It was there that I found cookies…but most importantly pie! Peach, with its sweet juice pooling in the bottom of the pan. Blueberry which made me wonder if there was any vanilla ice cream in the freezer. Apple, which I couldn’t pass up even if I wanted to. And finally Gooseberry, such an interesting looking pie with only one tiny piece gone and I giggled as I saw it knowing that probably would go back to Grandma’s without too much more of it eaten.

You will be happy to know that I did indeed survive the family gathering even if there weren’t any ham balls, and I made sure to show the desert table who was boss.

See you next week. Remember, we’re all in this together.