By Reba Phelps
Many, many moon’s ago I accidentally discovered a talent for making punch. My punch was so popular and in such high demand that it was requested any time I helped host a shower. In fact, I dare say I was heavily recruited to host showers because of my amazingly delightful punch. I made this concoction for wedding showers, baby showers and even a few political parties.
I chose the wording, “accidentally discovered,” due to the fact that I stumbled upon a pretty awesome and awe inspiring recipe one time and decided to recreate it. I spent an afternoon acquiring the ingredients and picked a party in which I would debut this drink. On the eve of making my first batch I was disheartened to realize that I had missed purchasing one ingredient. Being the resourceful and lazy person that I was I scoured my cupboard looking for a suitable replacement.
I will not disclose the ingredient as this may be trademarked and mass produced one day in the near future.
My punch had quickly taken on a life of its own. I made different versions but it all boiled down to two different choices. Baptist punch or Catholic punch. I pretty much knew ahead of time which version someone might request.
Sometime around the holidays my sweet and precious mother requested my punch. Being the comedian that I was I asked her which version she preferred. She doesn’t always appreciate my humor or shenanigans so she just gave me her famous eye roll. This clearly meant I should only serve the Baptist Christian version at our family Christmas celebration without the sinful additives.
When the time came closer she mentioned to me that she would not be able to partake of my famous punch because of the struggles she was having with her diabetes. So, she was making adjustments to her dietary needs. No punch for Eva Gail.
With this new found information I took this as a clear sign from heaven that I was free to serve any punch that I saw fit. After all, the family gathering was at my house. The rest of us didn’t have dietary restrictions nor did we have the religious pressure of only serving the Baptist version.
Catholic punch it was. Ladened with an ungodly amount of champagne. The first sip would sting a little but the more you drank the better it would feel later.
The big day came and I reminded my brother, sister and our children that the punch was not for the young in age but only the young at heart. The children paid zero attention to the punch bowl so we didn’t worry about underage consumption.
Everything was going off without hitch until Eva Gail uttered the ill-fated words, “Reba, I think I will try some of your famous punch.”
I am not sure why so many years after this occurrence that I can still hear her saying those words, but they literally echo in my mind from time to time.
My first reaction was one of love and care. I gently reminded my mother that she was diabetic and should not partake of the sugary drink that was sure to make her glucose climb. She then gently reminded me that she was my mother and she had given me an order that should be carried out expeditiously.
My second reaction was one of pure desperation. Eva Gail would be eternally disappointed that I served Catholic Punch at a Baptist gathering. I very casually responded that I wasn’t entirely sure if we even had any left. She wasn’t buying it due to the fact that the punch bowl was clear and she was not blind.
Doing as I was told I poured the punch. She drank the punch. She requested seconds.
With every tiny sip she took my anxiety increased ten fold. It wasn’t her glucose that had me concerned it was the champagne consumption. Her holy body was not used to alcohol at all. By cup number three she was having a great time. She laughed at jokes that were not funny. She even made jokes that were not funny.
I am not sure that I ever fully confessed my sin of spiking the punch to the Preacher’s wife. But, that year was deemed the best and least stressful of all of our family gatherings.
Not saying you need alcohol to deal with family but……….
There is just something special about family gatherings. There will be arguments. There will be disagreements and disappointments. Not all families get along perfectly and there is always someone stressing over something immaterial that will not even matter in five years. Kids grow up too fast. We lose family members before their time and family gatherings change from year to year. The more time we can focus on our loved ones the less time we will have to focus on our differences.
God gave us the family we have and there is truly nothing we can do to change that fact. Whether we are drinking the Catholic punch or the Baptist punch we are all God’s children.
“For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus” Galatians 3:26