By RHONDA SCHROCK
And it came to pass in those days that there went out a decree (OK, an invitation) from Mrs. Schrock that all the world — wait. That certain members of the Tribe of Schrock should be fed. And all went up to be fed, every one into that one city wherein dwelt the clan’s host family.
Some went up from Middlebury out of the county of Elkhart into the village of Wakarusa while others went up from the not-quite-a-village of Honeyville. And they gathered around a solid oak dining room table wherein had been added six of the available 12 leaves.
Some of those assembled gave thanks that they were not great with child this time or about to be delivered. Others gave thanks that no fun taxes had been levied (yet), and together they offered up heartfelt gratitude for all of the Lord’s blessings and for the feast that had been provided.
Many preparations had been made in advance of the day’s bounty. The morning preceding the feast, the Cooking Mother had roasted two fair fowl rubbed with sundry herbs and spices for a grand total of 37 pounds of juicy, seasoned meat. And mentioned it to her family and friends on a social networking utility never conceived of in the days of Caesar Augustus.
At mention of the total, gasps went up in towns and cities around the country, causing one friend from the sovereign state of Georgia to inquire as to whether every family member got his own bird. To which Cooking Mother replied in the negative and affirmed her tribe’s affinity for any and all leftovers involving the aforementioned fair fowl.
For potatoes awash in seasoned gravy. For bread, homemade, and salads. For green bean and sweet potato casseroles, the traveling and hosting Schrocks gave thanks and passed their plates for seconds.
So it was that while they were there, the days were accomplished that the pies (three kinds) should be delivered. And the Hosting Mother brought them forth, swaddling them in layers of whipping cream, and laid them on the table because there was no room for them in the refrigerator. And the glory of the Lord came upon them, and the multitude of the not-so-heavenly hosts praised God, saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, goodwill to men.” Then, with “hallelujahs” and “praise the Lord’s” on their lips, they dug in and laid waste to Aunt Iola’s pies.
Now there were in the same country parents abiding on The Three, keeping watch over their flock by night. And it came to pass as the visiting family members were gone away from them, that the three eldest sheep approached them.
With convincing and persuasive speech, they requested parental permission to journey to the place where great and wondrous bargains were being offered. When they’d convinced the shepherds that life as they knew it would be over if they missed such marvelous savings, they piled, all three, into the old and rusty family carriage and headed for Wal-Mart.
And their mother was sore afraid. She, after all, was a Reader of the News and knew good and well what could happen. She’d heard the hair-raising tales of looting, shooting and hooting — well, shooting and trampling that occurred in other places. Then, remembering that this wasn’t the Big Apple, she sighed with relief, said a prayer and fell asleep.
The following morn, the entire family (with College Kid in their midst) said to one another, “Let us even now go to the land of Goshen and fetch a tree. And while we’re at it, let’s snag a plethora of particularly palatable pints.”
And they came with haste to The Chief and found a perfectly pleasing pine — oh, wait. It may have been a fir. Anyway, they picked it out real quick because they were freezing their bunions, grabbed a pile of pints and dashed to the mall.
At long last, the family returned from their outing, glorifying and praising God for the bargains they’d gotten; for the fresh, green tree; and for the creamy, delicious ice cream, but most of all, that they were together at last. Then, as the smallest lamb squirmed with great impatience, the lights were finally wrapped around the tree and ornaments hung.
When the days were once more accomplished, the shepherds (the mom and the dad) took the biggest of their flock (yup, College Kid) back to campus. But not before a pilgrimage to their favorite brunch spot (LePeep’s). And not before a trip to Meijer where they purchased provisions for his pantry, which was bare. Then, after tucking packages of leftover fair and seasoned fowl into his fridge, with a kiss on his cheek and a hug on his neck, they journeyed home.
Later, the mother (not cooking, now, but resting) thought back over all the special memories her family had shared. Then, gathering them up as bejeweled ornaments, she tucked them into her heart to keep and to ponder for days and years to come.