Throughout history, there has been a dearth of volunteers to work kitchen duty. One of my wife’s favorite sayings is, “We only have a kitchen because it came with the house.” Being the parents of three children we had in the past hosted a cadre of friends and children of friends, and we have never forgotten the mountain of work it requires to feed and clean up a kitchen after a party.
One exhausting day after feeding a house full of people, our place looked like we had been hit by a tornado. My wife exhausted, flopped in the chair, “We didn’t have guests, we had locusts!” she exclaimed. We empathize with individuals who are left with a ton of work after the last of the party goers have vanished. So, like the biblical character Martha, we tend to stick around until the end of a celebration so we can help clean up.
One night we were invited to some community friend’s home for a Christmas party. Their place was teeming with guests, most of whom we had never made acquaintance. To keep from mindless chatter and chit-chat conversations, we chose to work in the kitchen, it’s quieter and we always felt more productive. The night seemed to go on forever as sunset comes early in the winter months. Finally, the last of the guests said their goodbyes and we wrapped up our self-imposed duties of cleaning up for our friends.
The soiree must have worn out the hosts because as we said so long to them, the outside light went off the moment we stepped off the porch and walked the fifty feet to our car in the driveway. As we began to place our things in the car our friends inside the house did the most unexpected thing. Thinking everyone had gone, they rushed into their bedroom like they’d been shot out of a cannon and began to undress in front of their large bedroom picture window. With lights still blazing inside, we saw them undressing faster than Superman in an empty phone booth.
Before we could even get our seatbelt fastened, we watched in horror as pants and blouses were thrown about the room as if they were being ejected by a threshing machine. Now down to their underwear, it was then as the lady of the house began to unhook her bra strap, I really panicked. My wife with urgency said, “Let’s get out of here before they see us!” I whispered back, “I can’t! They can see us from their window, if they see our lights, they’ll be mortified!”
Thinking quickly, I said to my wife, “Don’t turn on the lights, scoot over into the driver’s seat, I have an idea. Place the car in neutral and I’ll push us out the driveway.” My wife said, “But the house sits on an incline at the end of the driveway.” I was confident that if I could get a running start, the car could make the slight upturn up the hill as it left their property. I then could run around and hop into the car and glide down their hill out of view. I could turn on our lights when I was free of their expansive yard.
As I huffed and puffed our sizable car out their long driveway to freedom, I dared not turn around. I knew that I could never look my friends in the eye if I knew what their birthday suits looked like. I’d always seen them in church looking so prim and proper; and I wanted to keep it that way. I called on divine assistance in moving our behemoth of a car. Despite my cheeks being red from the cold and embarrassment, I huffed, and God puffed, and jettisoned us to freedom.
I have had many memorable encounters with friends and acquaintances that have been brief. But, this kind of “brief” encounter has never been repeated. Here’s hoping it never does.