My last post about Becky, Jersey Mike’s, and Uncle John struck a chord.
I’m not sure if it’s the Special Olympics, the excitement over sub sandwiches, or people looking for a tailgate invitation.
Apparently, many of you have plans to eat at Jersey Mike’s tomorrow. And one of our relatives has already placed her order.
Aunt Daria is the beloved older sister of my mother-in-law. Time and distance have not allowed me to spend much time with her. But I have a few treasured memories, most especially a lunch in Iowa and a family wedding in Michigan. Sam and I were grateful to be at her husband’s funeral several years ago. Aunt Daria and I share many of the same interests, so I hope we will have more time together in heaven.
Aunt Daria follows my blog as Mom Rauch reads her each post and describes every picture over the phone. Becky seems to have captured her heart. An artistically gifted person, Aunt Daria used to sew and she made quilts for several of our older kids. Last year, a package arrived at our home. It was a painting of newborn Becky inspired by a picture we sent her from the NICU.
Aunt Daria completed this painting in an art class at her retirement community. She captured sleeping Becky perfectly, even the detail of the oversized head bow. It’s a most treasured gift which I absolutely love and keep in my room. It’s a reminder of all the beauty that came out of that difficult time.
Aunt Daria raised a special needs child who once competed in the Special Olympics. So when Mom read her my recent post, Aunt Daria knew she wanted to support this cause. She drove to find a local Jersey Mike’s. Afterwards, she called Mom Rauch back to relay a vital piece of information: ORDER YOUR SUBS TODAY! Apparently, tomorrow is going to be the busiest day of the year for Jersey Mike’s, so they advise placing an order today to beat the crowds.
Great Aunt Daria also told her dinner table that one day her Great Niece Becky was going to be in the Special Olympics, just like her son. She also added the detail that Uncle John was driving his smoker there with enough food for hundreds of people.
So Aunt Daria’s sandwich has been ordered. A retirement community in Iowa has all the details on future Becky’s athletic plans. And my heart has been touched.
Several people have also texted and emailed, asking if they could join our family. I can best answer that question by telling a pre-Covid family Christmas story. Everyone was down in Texas for the holiday and my brothers took turns hosting various events. John spearheaded outdoor movie (which you can do in Texas in December), pizza, and bingo night.
It’s a big thing for my family. My brother Dennis used to call Bingo at his daughter’s elementary school class during take-a-parent-to-school events. When we gather together, my sister is in charge of the prizes. This is perfect because gift giving is her love language.
When we play family bingo, Aunt Karen brings a stash of goodies to the party. Her carefully curated prizes stoke familial competitiveness. Everyone plays intensely, hoping to win a garden gnome, a mini waffle maker, or a tennis ball launcher.
On this particular night, we were jammed around a table as she called out the numbers. B-57! G-9! O-45!
It was loud and chaotic. The emotion swelled as the cards were filling. Each announced number solicited cheers or moans. A winner was imminent. Finally, a small, mousy voice called out “B-I-N-G-O”. And the room went silent. Everyone looked around for the winner.
From the crowd appeared a small, outstretched arm holding the winning card. But this child was not a member of anyone’s family nor related to anyone in the house. My brother Dennis swung around and said, “Who are you?”
Well, it turns out she was a neighbor’s daughter, and a friend of the family. She saw the party unfolding in the front yard and streams of people walking into the house. She asked John’s daughter if she could join. My niece never thought to mention it to anyone because more is always better. Plus, no one would notice one extra person in the crowd. So, this little girl took a seat at the table and grabbed a card. No one noticed until she won the blackout Bingo game. And the Chia pet.
I tell you that story in response to the requests to attend Becky’s Special Olympics tailgater.
Of course! There’s always an extra seat at the table.