Monday, January 2, 2017
Welcome New Year
We don't have an occasion like this often so this year was very special to have the gang together.
That was Friday ... then Norie's family was off to Hiro's parents and I returned to Nikko's side.
This year, other than hang a new-year's quilt, I didn't do much else in the way of preparing for the new year. That was something Paul always did with great joy and polish.
This had been a tradition begun by Paul, and our family had donated money from his memorial service to keep the tradition alive.
There were mutterings that it was too much trouble and not enough help, but just the opposite was true.
Saturday there must have been nearly 40 people working to prepare packs of the special new years treats.
In the kitchen were those slicing pink and white kamaboko,
preparing the black beans and creamed chestnut and other things that are part of the meal.
traveled in a constant train, picking up items down the line, to be closed with a rubber band at the far end and stored in bags for Sunday's meal ... numbered and put in the refrigerators.
My job was just beyond this bowl of cooked carrots, bamboo shoots, and mushrooms...
adding little foil cups of black beans.
The white bag on the table was filled to the brim with chopped carrots by the end of the afternoon.
I got to experience the frustration of using right-handed knives ... the beveled edge on the right that makes the blade go crooked when used with a lefty. It was only luck that that bag contained no finger parts.
... his picture above the apron ...
Norie cut jonquils from her garden and brought those along with other gardening trimmings ...
plum branches, pine branches, and some branches from the nandina that had begun to turn red.
I was given a huge vase to make an arrangement and it was the first time for me to use blocks of foam rather than a kenzan ... another challenge.
Leia supplied the caligraohy on the left saying Ohshogatsu or New Year.
Our sextant brought out the folding screen and there was a guest book that many of both helpers and homeless signed. I was rather surprised on Sunday morning to find the arrangement and screen had been brought to the sanctuary for the service.
That was also an assembly line of workers, arranging items in the bowls and passing them along to the last table to be filled with hot soup.
The tables had been set with cups , chopsticks, and the packs that were put together the day before.
The homeless could come back as many times as they wished for refills of the soup.
I usually wash dishes at these meals but yesterday I was in the line passing prepared bowls to those filling in the soup.
There was a mad rush between the sessions to clean and re-set the tables.
In all, maybe 200 or more were served.
I don't know how many of the helpers had gone to parties or stayed up late to watch the new year arrive on TV ...
I only know the service was well attended and lots of people stayed around to help prepare and serve the meal.
Some left early and some were still in the kitchen when this commemorative picture was taken but Paul, whose photo is behind Norie must have been smiling down upon these servants of the Lord, doing the very thing he spent the last day on his feet doing.
I might add that some of these are experienced dedicated helpers in meals month-after-month but there were also those who chose to start their year with a new experience... a true global team, working together to serve others.
What better way to welcome in 2017!