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Hosting a crowd
Judi Tabler

We hosted a crowd at our house this weekend.

Granddaughter Lorrie and husband came from afar to attend a baby shower for Lorrie, who is expecting her first child. Our good friends hosted the party and it was a smashing success; the focal point of the whole shebang!

There were relatives, good friends of Lorrie’s, and kids at our house for about three days. Sofa sleepers were open, all the beds were occupied, the refrigerator was packed, the grill was going constantly, and the bathrooms and the washer and dryer were working overtime. 

Lorrie’s friends came for the day and spent the evening of the shower at our house visiting and enjoying a cookout before they headed back to their respective towns. They  gathered on the patio to visit and remember old times. 

In the meantime, the children (ages 2-14) decided it would be a good idea to turn the water hose on each other, while still dressed in their party clothes from the baby shower.

“Gramma, we need some towels.” In self-defense, not wanting them dripping in the house, I grabbed towels, while slapping paper plates and napkins on the serving table and mixing lemonade in a pitcher. Wet towels were piled on the floor along with their soaked clothes. 

“Gramma, do you have any dry clothes?” 

“I don’t think I do,” I muttered. Who keeps size 3-6x, and 7-12 sizes in their drawers on a regular basis? I loaded towels in the washer, grabbed some large T-shirts for the wet bodies, and continued to multi-task with the meal preps. (Scarcely missing a beat!) Then I tossed the wet garments in the dryer.

Thank you, Lord, for washers and dryers.

Fred entered the kitchen to get the bratwurst and wieners for the grill. I grabbed a plate for them. He was multitasking as fast as he could.

Soon, one of the young mothers passed through the kitchen to take her little britches to the busy bathroom. A few minutes later, she informed me that the toilet had overflowed and that she had sopped most of it up with towels. “Oh, jolly good! Thanks for catching that little problem,” I sighed. I was getting really tired! She helped me clean up and I carried wet towels once again to the washer to wait for the other towels to finish the cycle. 

In the meantime, Fred returned with the cooked brats, and remarked that the hose was still running. The kids had not turned it off, of course. Fred kept checking from then on.

I returned to the tasks at hand. I pulled out the “ginormous” potato salad that I had made the day before. Someone had already been into it. A scoop was gone. I had warned son, Orville, not to touch it. No one listens to me! 

Pregnant granddaughter Lorrie had bought the little kids water guns as a special treat. The minute everyone was dry, the water guns sneaked out of hiding, and the water show was on! By now, they were in swim suits. 

“Gramma, do you have any more towels?” The question should have been “Gramma do you have any more sanity?” I grabbed more towels, multitasking all the time with the meal preparation. I will get even with Lorrie. She will be sorry some day when I sneak some water guns to HER kids. Oh, and I will do it in the middle of the winter! 

The kids were getting hungry. We fed them hotdogs OUTSIDE. Next, they wanted to come inside. OK. To the basement. They like to play there. Out of sight, out of mind. The leader of the pack, middle child, 5-year-old Theo, decided in his “little boy pea brain” to turn out the light going down the stairs. Oh, clever idea, Theo! Little 4-year-old Petulla was lying on a step, and when the lights went off, Theo descended and stepped on her. Oh great!

Instead of calling her mother, who was on the patio with the other 14 guests, I sat on the carpeted basement stairs and held a sobbing little girl until all was fine. I stared at the others with my “evil eye,” saved for such occasions, uttering lectures and warnings from the depth of my growling throat. They weren’t sure who this old-lady monster could be, and they listened with big eyes. “If you aren’t more careful, I will take you by your little heads and twist your ears backward till they face in the other direction.” (something like that!)

After serving up the food and ingesting plenty for myself, I plopped in a big chair in front of “Shaun the Sheep” episodes with a little girl on my lap, and decided I had found THE ideal spot. Soon, Fred and I would retreat to our hiding hole to assume fetal positions and total disconnection. And the social affair went on.

You get the point. A good time was had by all, and memories were made. And tomorrow? Tomorrow we will fold towels. 

Judi Tabler lives in Pawnee County and is a guest columnist for the Great Bend Tribune. She can be reached at Visit her website