The sweet aroma of ham-loaf baking wafts through the house as I hurry to welcome my Southern friends at the front door. They are in for a real treat: ham-loaf from Wenger’s Fine Meats in Elizabethtown, PA brought shrink-wrapped in my suitcase on the plane,
My menu will replicate my mother’s, a superb Lancaster County Mennonite cook if there ever was one. Even at 95, she still makes some family meals:
- Melon balls with citrus mint
- Dinner rolls
- Bread and butter pickles
- Buttered peas & carrots
- Mashed potatoes with fresh chives
- Frozen lemon cream pie
The table is set with formal elegance: wedding china and crystal with a lemony centerpiece:
My friends are genuine Southern belles: Not a gray hair among them, their diamonds are real, their speech soft: “How y’all doin’? and “Bless yah heart!” is part of their verbal repertoire. They have given me an education in southern emBELLishments, so this evening I plan to guide the conversation by asking questions. Growing up, did you meet Mennonites? What was your impression? Do you know what Mennonites believe?
But my plans dissolve as I am greeted by friends with party hats, balloons, and sparkly gift bags, gleeful that they have surprised me royally. My birthday is five days away, but—bless their hearts!—they know it’s never too early to party. They produce smart-phones and iPads to capture the moment as I embrace Plan B:
Table conversation takes a different track from the one planned, and how glad I am that it does. We dish about vacation plans, family, embarrassing moments, dreams. We don’t weigh words! Then we enjoy dessert after I open presents and read more about Plan B from the memo pad gift:
Plan A is always my first choice . . .
the one where everything works out.
But more often than not, I find myself dealing with
the upside-down version
where nothing goes as it should.
It’s at this point the real test
of my character comes in. . .
Do I sink or do I swim?
Do I wallow in self-pity
or do I simply shift gears and
make the best of the situation?
The choice is mine.
Life really is all about
how you handle Plan B.
— Suzy Toronto
Each one of us around the table has had our taste of Plan B. We have all have had our share of heart-ache, disappointment, and loss. But all of us have learned to put a high priority on our faith, family, and friends. After all, “life really is all about how you handle Plan B.”
The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men / Gang aft agley, / An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain, / For promis’d joy! – Robert Burns
Does your life experience resemble Plan A or Plan B?
How has your Plan B turned out for the better or worse? Share your story.