I'm the kind of person who skips to the conversation when reading a book.

The Magic Chinese Take-Out Box

IMG_0547“I think this box is magic,” I said last night as I was clearing the table from dinner.

I’m not sure what was simmering in the back of my mind.  Was it the part of the story from Leif Enger’s Peace Like a River that I had just read, when the family had a bottomless pot of soup?  Was it the Bible passage I had read during my quiet time a few days ago about Elijah and the widow and the endless supply of flour and oil?  Was the all-familiar story of Jesus feeding the 5,000?  I’m really not sure, but here’s what happened.

It had been a long day.  I had done three (or was it four) loads of laundry, made phone calls of varying kinds on behalf of family business, walked the dog — twice, because the first walk had been aborted because of a sudden downpour, fretted about taxes, shuffled papers, and done absolutely nothing about dinner.

The questions usually begin around 4 PM.

“What’s for dinner, Mom?”  Hannah was the first, which is nice because she has such a cheerful manner.

“I don’t know,” I answered dully.  Really, I was thinking, Do you really need to eat tonight?  Couldn’t we just skip it?

Fin was next.  He gets home from school and he is Hungry — yes, with a capital “H”. “What’s for dinner?” he asked.

My shoulders slumped.  It was reality time.  I suppose I really am supposed to feed my children.

“I don’t know,” I told him too.

“What are you planning for dinner?” Bobby asked when he got home.  He’s always willing to help.

“Could we just order out Chinese food?” I asked.

“Sure,” he answered amiably.  I’m so glad he doesn’t get frustrated by my lack of get-up-and-go.

There were only going to be five of us for dinner — Hannah, Grace, Fin, Bobby, and me.  Elliot would not be home.  Five seems like such a small number to feed.

I ordered three dinners to share: chicken & broccoli, General Tso’s chicken, and chicken lo mein.  We go with a chicken theme every time.

Our family considers Chinese take-out a treat.  They all arrived at the table hungry, and I wondered if I had ordered enough.

Everyone took servings of everything.  I was surprised there were any leftovers, but I was able to put aside a bowl of pork-fried rice with some leftover chicken & broccoli and General Tso’s chicken on top.  I knew that Bobby would enjoy that for lunch today.

IMG_0548Then I grabbed the box of lo-mein.  It was nearly full!  I had taken a good-sized serving.  I had watched Hannah and Grace and Bobby all put generous amounts on their plates.  I had watched Fin sucking some of the noodles into his mouth.

Full! That’s when I pronounced the box “magic” — because I could think of no other explanation.  Maybe God, in His mercy, wanted to allow me a whole week without fixing dinner thanks to a magic lo-mein box.

I knew that wouldn’t fly though — a week of just lo-men — when Hannah made her next comment.

“Could we put some bacon in there too?” she asked.


2 comments on “The Magic Chinese Take-Out Box

  1. Alyssa
    April 11, 2013

    I had a box of magic sprouts last week. (See what my mother has done to me?) I ate sprouts on everything I could think of, and the box was still full after a week. I finally had to throw them out because they were starting to look like your lo-mein.

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This entry was posted on April 11, 2013 by in Family conversation, Postaday 2013 and tagged , , , , , , , , , .

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