A Good Visit With Old Friends

Yesterday was a very full day. I was up early making a breakfast casserole and heating up the huge batch of rice cakes that Lucy and I had made on Saturday. I also had 8 pounds of ham to slice for the potluck later that day.

By the time Don & Gwen and their boys arrived, everything was in readiness. The rice cakes were a surprise for them and I was thrilled to see the smiles on their faces. Don, Gwen and I had rice cakes for breakfast every single morning when we were at Sakeji. You’d think that by the time a kid left Sakeji, he’d be sick to death of rice cakes, but the truth is that when you leave, you leave with a lifetime craving for the fried rice balls you ate so many of as a kid. I made about 80 rice cakes and there were very few left over!

We all went to church (except Mary, who woke up sick) and thanks to our augmented numbers, we had the best singing that we’ve had for many a month! Lina played the piano, giving me another week of respite from playing in church. Don was our speaker, talking about their work in Zambia. They also had a “name that tune” game with Gwen playing and singing hymns in Kikaonde and Bemba. She ended by teaching an African song to us all.

After the service we had a potluck dinner, giving everyone time to fellowship and visit. Because we had guests, I had taken even more food than usual, and it’s a good thing I did, because overall there was quite a bit less food than usual. Almost everything I took was eaten. One thing I took was a dessert that I made up all by myself. It was embarrassingly easy, but everyone really liked it. Want the recipe?

Pumpkin Cheesecake Pudding

2 packages plain cheesecake mix OR 2 packages of cheesecake pudding mix
3 cups of cold milk
1 can of puréed pumpkin
1 large tub of whipped topping

Mix the cheesecake filling or pudding according to the directions. Do NOT use almond milk instead of real milk or the pudding won’t set.
Fold the pumpkin and whipped topping into the pudding. Done! Store in the refrigerator until you are ready to eat it.
So, there you are. Assuming you check your pudding label to make sure, this is even gluten free.

A lot of napping went on in the afternoon. Everybody seems to be running short on sleep these days. We had a great time around the table at supper time, and afterwards we more or less banished the teenagers so that I could carry out my clever plan–to videotape Gwen playing and singing a few songs. She had already practiced some songs from the books I gave her–but she is so skilled she doesn’t really need to practice.

Mary helped with the actual recording, because she does it for a living and I’m pretty incompetent. It was such a treat to hear Gwen play and sing. My mind went back to my first term at boarding school in Kenya. Gwen and I were in eleventh grade. Her roommate did not like her to practice her guitar there, so Gwen would come down to my room. She’d sit on one end of my bed and I’d sit on the other, and she’d play and sing for an hour or more. Even by then, I’d been listening to her play (first ukulele, then guitar) for several years!
So, it’s hard for me to convey to you the delight that we both felt to share those tunes again. We also recorded her singing two of her own songs, and a Bemba song too. Eventually, they’ll be up on YouTube.

Today, I made an early run to the grocery store to get some fresh fruit and veggies so we could have a nice brunch with Don and Gwen before they left town. Alas, one of their sons woke up sick, but the rest of them came for one last meal at our house. I made a huge salad and we had plenty of sandwich fixings and fruit too. So nice after all the “heavy” holiday food!

It took them longer to get going than they had planned–but there’s nothing new about that! Walter and Don had a nice long conversation and Gwen and I got to visit a little more too. Oh, the delight of reconnecting with lifelong friends!

After they left early this afternoon, I could not wait to lie down and take a nap. I am still having major issues with my gums and mouth, and I feel pretty worn down. (Yes, I DID try to get an appointment today but it didn’t work out.) Sadly, my “rest” wasn’t very restful as one of my offspring played very loud music with a pounding beat the whole time I was lying down. This resulted in several hours of grumpiness!

The “big” kids all left to go to a coffee shop about an hour’s drive away, so Jasper and I were alone in the house for a while. We watched a couple of videos and had a nice little supper together.

Later this evening, my parents arrived after spending some time in Dallas and having supper with Flynn. We didn’t visit for long since they were ready to go to bed. That’s when we found out that Don and Gwen apparently forgot to give us the key to the apartment! Thank goodness Walter has a master key . . . .

Parting Shot:

12-29-14 Amborskis

Raymond, Don, Gwen, Jamey

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