Mac’s Fancy Banquet

By Linda Porter Carlyle

MacKenzie Isabelle Evans looked up from her Primary Treasure. “What exactly is a banquet anyway?” she asked. “I mean, I sort of know, but not really.”

Mom rested her knitting in her lap. “A banquet is a very fancy meal,” she answered. “The food is usually served in courses,” she went on. “A nice salad is brought out first, and when everyone has finished that course, waiters whisk away the salad plates and bring out the next course—maybe a small bowl of soup with warm bread or dinner rolls. And when everyone has eaten that, the soup bowls are taken away, and the main course is served. And then there would be an elegant dessert at the end.”

“Have you ever gone to a banquet?” Mac asked. “I wish I could go to one!”

“Sure,” Mom replied. “I went to several in high school and college. And since then, I’ve been to political banquets and awards banquets. Usually there are speeches or some kind of entertainment at banquets too,” she added.

“It sounds like fun!” Mac said. “How old do you have to be to go to a banquet? I wish I could go to one!”

“You’re probably old enough now,” Mom said, considering. “If your dad and I were invited to a banquet that I thought you would enjoy, I might take you along.”

“I hope somebody invites you soon! Do you dress up fancy for banquets?” Mac asked, her eyes sparkling.

Mom grinned at her. “Usually,” she answered.

Mac jumped off the sofa. “I don’t want to wait!” she exclaimed. “Can we make a banquet? I mean our very own banquet? We could invite Joseph and G.M. (Joseph’s Grandma Maddie), and maybe Pastor Chuck and Mrs. Pastor Chuck. I will help you cook the food! Please!”

“Maybe,” Mom answered slowly. She rocked back and forth, thinking. “It would be a lot of work,” she said. “Sort of like making a Thanksgiving meal.”

“I’ll help! I’ll help!” Mac assured her mother. She twirled across the room. “It will be fun! What kind of fancy salad shall we make?”

“Go get a cookbook,” Mom said. “That should give you some ideas.”

Mac dashed into the kitchen and soon returned with a cookbook in hand. She plopped down on the sofa and began to leaf through it. “There sure are lots of different kinds of salads!” she exclaimed. “I didn’t know there were so many! Listen to this! Cherry Salad, Coconut-Pineapple Salad, Cranberry Fluff Salad—I wonder what the fluff part is,” she giggled. She read on. “Fruit Rhapsody Salad, Pineapple Coleslaw, Lime and Pear Mold. Lime and Pear Mold?” She looked horrified. “Why would anyone want to eat mold?

Mom laughed. “That doesn’t mean mold like moldy food,” she reassured her. “It means the salad is molded. It’s got Jell-O in it, and the salad mixture is poured into a mold. After it sets up in the refrigerator, you turn it out of the mold, and you have a prettily shaped salad. You’ve seen molded salads at church potlucks before.”

“Whew!” Mac exclaimed, giggling. “There’s a lot of mold salads in this book! I’m glad they’re not all moldy!”

“Often there are place cards at banquets,” Mom said, getting into the spirit of Mac’s idea.

“What are place cards?” Mac asked.

“Little name cards that are put beside the place settings,” Mom explained. “They show where each guest is supposed to sit.”

“I could make place cards!” Mac exclaimed excitedly. “I could make them with my new gel pens and decorate them with stickers!”

“So what are we having this banquet in honor of?” Mom asked.

“Heroes!” Mac answered promptly. “I got the idea from reading the story of Esther in my lesson. And we could have entertainment too! Everybody could tell about their favorite hero! And I could tell about Esther because she’s mine!”

“OK,” Mom said with a sudden smile. “We’ll do it! You’ll have to decide which of those many salads you’d like to have. We’ll have to choose our main dish and what kind of vegetables we’ll serve. And we’ll have to decide on the dessert.”

“That’s easy!” Mac said promptly. “Let’s have that cheesecake with blueberries on top. It’s my new all-time favorite dessert! I can’t believe I wouldn’t even taste cheesecake before. I had no idea it was so wonderful!” She twirled across the room again. “Cheesecake, mashed potatoes, molded salad! Do you think I’ll ever be a hero?” she asked, stopping in front of Mom.

Mom folded up her knitting and tucked it away in her knitting bag. “And what exactly is a hero?” she asked, looking up.

“A hero is someone who might be scared but who wants to do what is right and asks God to help him do it,” Mac answered.

Mom stood up. She put her hands on Mac’s shoulders. “You might be scared sometimes, but I know you want to do what’s right, and I know you would ask God to help you.” She kissed Mac’s forehead. “I think there’s a very good chance that you will be a hero one day!”

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