Friday morning was the bustle of last-minute details; there was one last time to mop the kitchen, cook the children’s breakfast, dress them in their Sunday clothes and, of course, wash the last fingerprints off the windows. It was an overcast but beautiful morning for the wedding.
Around 6:30 a.m., the first buggies and vehicles drove into our driveway by those who had come to help prepare lunches.
When I met the bride and groom, I kissed Carolyn. His day had finally come. She looked stunning in her light cream gray dress. Then Julia and Daniel helped me set up six chairs on the porch for the bridal party to sit on. From there, they watched as people entered the aisle, some of whom came to shake their hands. Others took care of preparing the food in the store, placing brownies with toppings and fresh fruit on individual plates, preparing the salad and the 101 other details that go with feeding several hundred people.
Since we were punch servers, we didn’t have a morning job with the food. So we sat to the side and chatted with friends and answered questions related to organizing events. I was amazed at how well things seemed to be going and how well everyone was doing.
At 9 a.m. the services began with a German hymn. While we were singing, the rain started falling on the roof. Quietly, I told God that we would be very grateful if it didn’t rain during the sermon. Since there was no insulation in the ceiling and no microphone system, this could create problems. I felt at rest knowing that God was in charge; I couldn’t wait to see how it would turn out. When the Prime Minister, Carolyn’s father, stood up and spoke the second sentence, the rain stopped.
My heart was deeply moved and inspired as I listened to his encouragement for us, who need to be filled with the spirit of God and his love in order to live in his fullness. Matthew’s father shared the main sermon, followed by his uncle who got married. My heart swelled with joy for the miracle of God uniting these two pure young people into one.
Right after the service, we, along with several other couples who were also responsible for preparing and serving the punch, headed to what is usually the store’s arrival room, where there was a table with instructions for preparing the drink. The concentrate had been mixed before the wedding, placed in gallon buckets and put in the freezer. It was now ready to be chopped and tossed into a 30 gallon container until ready to serve.
Next is lunch and talk about some of the most amazing dishes. Now I’ve eaten mashed potatoes with gravy and chicken more times than I could ever count, but I thought it was definitely one of the best ever! And the wedding salad, it was still so tasty. When we filled up on hot food, dessert was served. The individual plates with brownies topped with a creamy pink topping and fresh fruit not only looked pretty, but were also delicious with individual sundaes of ice cream.
We enjoyed chatting with other people across the table, getting to know more people and reconnecting with those from years past.
When our plates were cleared, we headed to the punch station. This time we poured 20 1/2 two-liter bottles of ginger ale into the concentrate. Upon doing so, we discovered that 6 gallons of punch mix had been placed in another freezer and had not been taken out of the freezer that morning. It was rock hard and the guests were to be getting punch very soon. We debated, we tasted what we had. Too bland, no option. No, we don’t have a microwave to defrost it. While Daniel stirred the barrel of punch and worked on further thawing the chopped concentrate, the other three guys headed home. In the tub, they placed the six buckets of frozen mixture and filled the tub with steaming hot water. As the concentrate thawed, they poured it into more buckets.
Meanwhile, Julia, Austin and the seven other children Carolyn had taught in school stood by and sang them two songs. I loved every moment.
By then the punch guys were back in the arrival hall and had thrown everything into the 30 gallon drum. Daniel gave it another good shot and it was good to go.
In no time he was ready to serve. As the congregation sang songs from the wedding booklets Matthew and Carolyn had prepared, we served punch. My heart swelled with awe before the Lord as they sang, “You are the One we worship, You give healing and grace for which our hearts always thirst…”
Far too soon, they had finished singing all eight songs. In no time, the shop was filled with a whisper of voices as people from all sides were soon absorbed in the conversations. At 5 p.m., it was dinner time. After supper, Matthew and Carolyn, with the help of the witnesses, opened their presents.
By 8 a.m. everyone had left, including the new couple who had settled into their new home.
It was a good day, filled with friendships and food, but then it was so good to be together again as a family, after everything was over!
One-Pot Cheese Noodles
1 liter of chicken broth
1 liter of water
1 stick of butter
4 teaspoons of chicken broth
1 ½ teaspoons of salt
1 pound medium noodles
A 10 ½ ounce can of cream of chicken soup
½ cup melted cheese (like Velveeta)
Bring the first four ingredients to a boil in a large kettle. Meanwhile, melt the butter over medium heat, continue heating until the butter is golden brown then add the cheese and chicken soup, continue heating until the cheese is melted. Once the water mixture comes to a boil, add the noodles and bring to a boil again. Then add the butter mixture and remove from the heat.