The party was going fine until a misunderstanding occurred. Several friends and their families had been invited to a casual party at our home in the country. Our home needed work and it had been tempting to wait to invite company until all work was complete, but the money situation we faced would only allow minimal and necessary repairs to be done and we wanted to invite people over sooner than when the repairs were done. Many were church friends and we had also invited some neighbors we didn’t know well, making it quite a mixed group. The party was being held outside since the weather was nice in late summer and all were relaxing and having fun – good, clean fun.
Volleyball was being played by several, some were sitting at the bonfire, and there were various activities going on with much laughter. Our party ideas didn’t include paying for grand activities and we hoped all would enjoy the simple games we set out and it seemed to be happening, to my great relief. I rushed to get the last of the food on the outdoor table where the picnic food was being placed for the potluck dinner. Other tables and chairs were set up, but some people would have to stand or sit on a blanket on the ground and thankfully, no one seemed to mind.
When the meal was ready, we called everyone over to the table area where they quieted down so my husband could pray and thank God for the food. After the prayer, I gave quick instructions about the food line and where the beverages were, so the line formed while people filled their plates with the appetizing food. We were thankful to have so many wonderful people around us and treasured these new friends.
Being rather new to the area, we had gradually made a few friends and this was our first real party, so I had been a bit nervous, wanting people to like us and wanting all to go well. I had to admit, the party was a success and I allowed myself to enjoy the relief of that.
Times had been tough in the last couple of years since my husband had lost his job and changed to a job which paid less. We had been selling what we could from the house, to help make ends meet and I posted things online, and then acted as dispatcher when someone called and wanted an item, meaning I set up the time one of the family members could meet them at a nearby gas station to sell whatever was being sold or I would meet them myself. We had already sold several things and as bills continued, I had to dig deeper to sell things I hadn’t wanted to sell, but we really needed the money, so I was trusting God to provide for us in this way and He was.
I was frugal, by nature, but even I couldn’t stretch the money as far as it needed to stretch, though I had expanded my frugal habits. I had been actively gardening and harvesting wild foods, which most people call weeds, and had been surprised at the number of new foods I had found… foods that were edible and nutritious and free. My new harvests had included purslane, dandelions, violets and redbud flowers in our salads. I found that pine needles have a good amount of vitamin C, so I made tea with those and many more foods were found. My interest in herbs and natural health was a bonus in helping me to research all of this. I had made regular foods for the picnic, though, and wasn’t trying any of my new ideas on friends.
So far, we had sold an unused seed spreader, an extra grill and more of those types of items. I had pared down my kitchen bowls and pans and sold many of those, as well as a couple of chairs I had never liked and a cabinet I would miss. The beautiful rose china set from my grandmother had been difficult to part with, but the money it brought helped to pay the electric bill, buy shoes for one of our sons and buy groceries for this party. I was thankful and still felt so blessed by God. Our family was close and we were together and learning to trust God more and more.
At the moment, I had about three dozen items posted online for sale and when someone wanted to meet, we tried to make it happen as soon as possible in order to not lose a sale. When I received an email from someone, I sent them meeting information and a contact number which was usually my husband’s unless he was at work. A couple of our sons were also able to meet and sell items, which helped a lot, but coordinating selling times with family work schedules had proved to be challenging. We were making it work, but I would be glad when it was no longer necessary, if that day ever came.
A question from my daughter nudged me from my thoughts and I turned my attention to her as she said my husband was trying to get my attention, so I looked to where he stood on the other side of the table. I was delighted the party was going so well, but surprised he was on his cell phone. He covered the mouthpiece to ask me “Honey, where is the pot? I need the pot!” He was in a frantic hurry because a sale needed to be made and the people were almost to the gas station meeting place, but couldn’t wait long.
I wished people would give us more warning, but we had experienced this before and I knew we could do it. I raised my voice and called to my son, who was a few yards away. “Dad needs the pot so he can go sell it. Hurry and get it, please.” The son rushed to do my bidding, while my husband finished his conversation, ready to grab the pot and go sell it. Only then, did I realize the laughter had ceased and people looked concerned. There was some whispering, but the conversations had quieted to an uncomfortable level. As hostess, I knew I need to fix whatever the problem was, but I wasn’t sure what was going on.
One woman cautiously asked, “You’re selling something like that?” I replied that we were selling many things because we really needed the money more than the items. We really liked the pot, but could do without it and needed the money it would bring. She looked surprised and her frown indicated disapproval. I looked around, surprised at the continued quiet and serious-looking faces. Our party was going so well until then and I wondered WHAT had happened. I felt panic rise inside, but needed to play it cool since I was the hostess, though I felt like crying. I wondered if they disapproved of my husband leaving the party and hoped he would be quick to return.
Just then, our son came out of the house with the large glazed ceramic pot and saucer my husband needed to take to sell. He grabbed it from our son and rushed to the vehicle to go meet the people. I was glad we would get the money from the pot as it would be a help. Hearing more conversation again, I turned back to the people and though relieved, I still didn’t know what had happened.
Seeing some smiles and smirks, I was confused until the same woman who had questioned me earlier, asked, “Was that the POT you were selling?” When I said yes, chuckles started and then outright laughter and I finally put it all together.
“You mean, you thought we were selling pot, like marijuana?” When she nodded and laughter continued, I sputtered, “We wouldn’t even consider doing that.” I was horrified. “Oh, my, I’m so sorry. I guess I need to be more careful of how I say things in the future.” Thankfully, the party got back on track and finished well and the pot sold. One man congratulated me on having such a fun party and laughed about pot, while I cringed, and gave a polite little smile.
Katherine J Masters 11-14-2020