With Two You Get Eggrolls
By Kathi Macias –
I can’t remember if the “eggrolls” title above was a book or a movie, but my dad was famous for saying it every time he took us out for Chinese food (which wasn’t often, as people ate out a lot less often in those days—took too long to harness the horses to the buggy, you know).
Seriously, with Mom and Dad in the front seat and us three kids in the back, we’d have the “eggrolls” discussion long before we arrived at Hissing Dragons. “Let me do the ordering,” Dad would say (as if that were a novel suggestion). “I know how to get the most food for the least money, including free eggrolls. So just keep your mouths shut until the food arrives.”
Since all I really cared about were the fortune cookies, that wasn’t much of a problem. But fifty-plus years later, I realize how much of my dad’s training has stuck with me. My husband absolutely adores Chinese food, so we go out to eat it fairly regularly. The minute we sit down and open the menus, I start looking for specials—two-for-one, buy-this-and-get-that-free, etc. I can’t tell you the times I’ve ordered something I don’t even like just because something else I don’t dislike quite as much comes with it.
Old habits die hard, as they say, and my 90-year-old mom is the proof of that. In the facility where she now lives, she shares her meals with two table-mates, Rita and Laura. The three of them compare notes about health, families, activities (or lack thereof)…and food. That, of course, is a big one. My mom actually called me the other day to complain that they served liver and onions for dinner, something she refuses to eat.
“So are you still hungry, Mom?” I asked in response. “You know, I left some sandwich items in the refrigerator in your room. You can ask your caregiver to help you make a sandwich.”
“Oh, no, I’m not hungry,” she assured me. “I seldom eat what they serve for dinner anyway because I’m still full from lunch.” (That’s not surprising because they finish lunch at 12:30 and go back down to the dining room for dinner at 4—just long enough in between for an afternoon nap.) “It’s just the principle of the thing,” she explained. “I hate liver and onions, and I thought you should know that’s what they gave us for dinner.”
Sigh. I’m never sure how to handle that sort of situation, so I usually just change the subject. But as much as she despises liver and onions, there is one meal at the facility that ranks at the top of her favorites list: eggrolls. At last twice a month they serve eggrolls (along with a few other items) for either lunch or dinner, and Mom always calls me to rave about them. But the last time she had them, she also had a revelation that really rocked her world.
“They give eggrolls to everyone,” she said, amazement evident in her voice.
“And why wouldn’t they?” I asked.
“Well, I just assumed I got them because I share a table with Rita and Laura, but today I noticed there were a couple of people sitting at tables by themselves, and they got eggrolls too!”
It was nearly too much for her to comprehend, though she quickly added that it wouldn’t be fair if they didn’t get them. After all, it was sad enough that they sat by themselves at mealtime; there was no reason to punish them further by depriving them of eggrolls.
I’ve learned a lot watching my mom age, and not just about eggrolls and who’s entitled to them. I understand a little better now that the Scriptures tell us that the death, or passing, of God’s people is precious in His sight. And it isn’t limited to that one moment in time when a believer takes that last breath and departs for heaven. It is the sometimes lengthy process, that cutting of earthly ties so we can finally soar into God’s presence. Barring some unexpected event, Mom will probably get there ahead of me, but I wouldn’t be in the least surprised if, when I arrive soon after her, I find she’s already sitting at the banquet table, sharing eggrolls with my dad. Something tells me they won’t mind if I join them.