The time had come for #10 to join the Church’s family. Her baptism was Saturday, and my uncle, who is a priest, performed the Mass and baptized our little girl. The celebration at my grandparent’s ranch followed. Wife had the whole thing planned out, appetizers, drinks, buffet, and dessert. This time, she left nothing to chance. But you can never tell just how things will come together. You see… here, just let me show you.
At about six in the morning, the day seemed to promise to be a pleasant Saturday. The sun was just poking its face from behind the mountains, like a toddler playing peek-a-boo. The morning doves were up, singing their favorite tunes. And Wife rolled over in bed in a panic.
“The meat!” she exclaimed. “I left it on all night. Go check on it!”
I pulled myself out of bed and stumbled into the kitchen. Surely Wife was overreacting. I was certain she had left the meat cooking all day and through the night to make the beef extra tender. It was supposed to be tender, the roasts were to be shredded after all.
I lift the roaster lid and looked down on what appeared to be large lumps of black coal.
At other times I may have understood what happened, but I had stayed up late the night before, and was rather tired and slow.
I shuffled back into our bedroom and Wife immediately asked, “Well? How is the meat?”
“I think you should come look at it.”
To #10’s dismay, Wife stopped feeding her and nearly leapt out of bed. She rushed into the kitchen and opened the roaster. At this point of the story, I’m going to just gloss over what words that were spoken. Let’s just say no one was happy, and Wife had no idea what to do.
“It’s probably not that bad,” I offered, and coughed.
“You can’t even talk because of the smoke,” Wife snapped. “How is it not that bad?”
After a couple frantic minutes I decided what we needed. “I’ll call Mom.”
Okay, it may sound like I’m five, but come on. How else am I supposed to call when something like that falls apart? Okay, maybe it does sound a little childish.
But my mother did not answer her phone. And neither did my father.
Wife was nearly in tears. So, I attempted to act like I knew what to do. I pulled a burnt roast out, which was a challenge of its own. They had cooked to the edge of the pan like asphalt. I took the roast and set it on a cutting board. It was so charred it crunched on the board like a rock. I began surgery on the roast.
With the focus of a doctor cutting away gangrene, I sliced off all the burnt meat. The inner roast was good. It was a little dry, but certainly edible. If a choir of angels was going to break into gospel song, it happened right then. The meal was salvaged.
I spent the next hour de-burning roasts.
At around seven, Wife and my mother looked at my pan of shredded-beef and both thought it was not enough. But we had time. Mom had a roast that she began cooking and when it was time for the baptism, we had all the shredded-beef we needed.
#10 was baptized, and our little party was as fun as bouncy-house full of children.
Sometimes, it feels like no matter how well we plan, somehow something always gets tossed into the gears. Yet, like #10’s baptism, things usually right themselves. As if God just wants to remind us who is running this crazy ride.