Monday, October 12, 2009

Let Nothing Come Between Granny and Her Tiramisu

We live in a fairly type-A town. You’ll never catch me running for City Council or for the school board because those poor people get enough flack to last a lifetime in just one week around here. It’s a town filled with people who want the very best for their children at all times, no exceptions. People who will stop at nothing to make sure they get what they want.

Of course, half of the people want it one way and half want it another. Seriously, if the City Council decided to paint all of the street posts in our town green, there would be a group of “concerned citizens” who wanted them changed to red. And maybe a fringe group who would want some of them red, but some of them pink.

I admire those who choose to serve our city and our schools in this way, but you’ll probably never see me doing it. I just couldn’t deal with people being mad at me. I’m a middle child, remember?

Anyway, it stands to reason that all the type-A people in our town would make for churches that are also filled with type-A people. That would be our church. We love it, and we love the people there, but my observation after about 25 years is that there are a lot of type-A people in our church.

And, you know, sometimes that’s not a bad thing. We work hard. We get stuff done. We are committed, for the most part. And we send out a lot of missionaries.

When I say a lot, I mean, a LOT. Like over 150 missionary families. It’s a great heritage that I kind of like about our church.

Every year we host a huge missions conference which took place this past weekend. This year we had the largest gathering of missionaries ever—probably 30 families—came “home” to our church to get refreshed and to touch base with their supporters, friends, and family.

Yesterday’s church service was the culmination of the conference, and it was really different. For one thing, there was no sermon. All of the missionaries helped with the service by doing a type of reader’s theater. They even got the congregation involved in doing some of the reading.

And there was music. Wonderful world-music by a group of missionaries who are ethnomusicologists. No strumming guitar players for us. No way. We have to have ethnomusicologists. See what I mean about our type-A-ness?

Every year part of the missions festival is a fun evening with the missionaries. It’s usually a game of some sort and it usually involves food. Come on, you can’t have a missionary event without food. But the main purpose is to get the people in our congregation to interact with the missionaries who are in town.

So last night’s big event was just such a thing. We were greeted at the door and handed a card with instructions telling us that in order to win dessert we’d have to get three stars on our card. The only way to get a star was to talk to one of the missionaries about their work or where they lived.

It’s a great idea in theory, but in reality it played out a little differently.

Our family walked around together, each of us holding our little cards, hoping to fill them up with stars because the more stars you got the more dessert, or maybe even a cappuccino, you could get. We were hungry, so we tried to move quickly.

The problem was, all of the type-A people in our church were on a similar mission.

Pretty soon the room filled up, and it was getting tough to get near one of the missionaries we needed to talk to. Elbows were being thrown as we crowded around them, hoping to hear a little bit about their work, but mostly to get a star for our little dessert card.

At one point we spent about 10 minutes talking to an older gentleman, very politely I might add, only to have him doll out one star for the five of us rather than giving all of us a star. He was playing the game quite literally and would not break the rules for anything.

We were incredulous, to say the least.

But, not to be deterred because we’re a fairly type-A group ourselves, we moved on, hoping to find a friend who would be a little more free and easy with the stars. As the evening wore on, we started to realize what a difficult task this was going to be. We were really having to work for our tiramisu!

Finally, with two stars on each of our cards (three on mine because the older gentleman took a liking to me and gave the one star to me), we waited to talk to a woman about her work in South Africa. We inched closer and closer, already beginning to taste the gooey richness of our dessert, when all of a sudden an old lady scooted up close to her and pretty much pushed B out of the way.

She cut in line! The old lady hip-checked my husband to get ahead in line!

All five of us stared, open mouthed, at the woman and at each other. And then we decided we’d had enough.

We may be a little bit type-A, but we’re not type-A+.

After nearly an hour of making small talk and trying to get near a missionary in order to get a star, we gave up and left. We all decided that it might just be easier to go home and make our own tiramisu than to get three stars on our cards.

Later that night, B started having some back trouble. I’m pretty sure it was the hip-check he took from the little old lady.


  1. What some people won't do for a little dessert. All kidding aside, what a great idea to meet & greet your missionaries. Hope B's back is better; wonder if Granny's back is bothering her today.

  2. A great idea. But I'm with you. I'd be a much better conversationalist AFTER I've had my dessert and coffee.


  3. THIS is hilarious! I'm catching up on all of your posts today.