Eat, Drink, and Be Merry…
…for tomorrow we die. The world is ending tomorrow! Tell us about your last dinner — the food, your dining companions, the setting, the conversation.
The table was set. Candles were lit down the center, with bouquets of roses, deeply red, filling the spaces between the candlesticks. Music played in the background, filling the room with the richness of stringed instruments, flowing easily to trumpets, flutes, piano, and all the rest. The deep resonance of the bass was the most comforting to her as she inspected the room, making sure everything was as it should be.
There were seats for 19. Her soon-to-be daughter-in-law had been invited, and accepted the request to spend her last hours with them.
All of them were both stunned and excited. The youngest children, perhaps, didn’t have a full understanding, but they knew something very important was taking place and they were solemn as they walked into the room with their parents. The individual families ranged themselves across the table until every seat was filled. The food was waiting on a buffet along one wall of the room, but before plates were filled, there were things that needed to be said.
“I love you. I have always loved you. You mean more than life to me. Thank you for a lifetime well lived.”
“I forgive you.”
“I didn’t understand.”
“I know. It’s all right. It doesn’t matter any more.”
“I wish I had known more, done more, given you all more. I regret the times I was selfish.”
“You weren’t selfish. We all knew you did the best for us, the best you could, the best you knew. We’re grateful.”
“This is not goodbye, you know.”
“Yes, we know. When this is over, we’ll be together again in heaven, with God. Nothing that happens here can change that.”
“All right. Let’s have prayer, and then let’s enjoy this wonderful meal.”
The mood changed from solemn to cheerful, sometimes to hilarious as memories were exchanged while the food was consumed. And the food was the most unusual mix of favorites that spanned all their lifetimes. It didn’t go together. It didn’t matter. Grilled burgers, corn on the cob, potato salad; turkey and dressing, pumpkin pie, fruit salad; lasagna, homemade bread, fried chicken, mashed potatoes. Cranberry sauce. Lemon curd cheesecake. So many wonderful dishes, and they all had a sampling of the things they particularly enjoyed.
“Dad. When will it happen? Will there be any warning?”
“I don’t know. Probably not. I know only that there could be no better way for our lives here to end than for us all to be together. There is nothing to fear. We won’t———–“