Over Christmas break, the kids and I watched the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving Special — and while they laughed at Charlie Brown trying to put together a Thanksgiving feast for his friends, I was learning a very important lesson.
“Listen, I have a treat for you,” Peppermint Patty told him. “My Dad got called out of town, and he said that I could go over to your house to share Thanksgiving with you, Chuck.”
I shook my head while Charlie Brown stammered at her news. I've been there.
“I don’t mind inviting myself over because I know you kind of like me, Chuck.”
“Well — I, uh,” he kept saying. By the end of it, Peppermint Patty had invited two more kids, and Charlie Brown was overwhelmed.
Oh, Chuck. I feel you. It’s hard being a people pleaser. Sometimes I should say no, when everything in me is saying NO, I find my lips forming the words, “Sure! I’d be happy to!”
And next thing you know, the fire alarm is sounding, and I’m melting down in the kitchen after volunteering to make homemade fried chicken for a family of six for a church meal ministry.
I still don’t know why I thought that was a good idea.
I love meal ministry, and I know it is helpful for many, but at that time, we had a lot going on. I still remember the call.
“Well — I, uh,” I kept saying. Then my mouth took off on me. “Sure! I’d be happy to. Put me down for fried chicken.”
I’d never cooked fried chicken in my life, and no one expected that out of me anyway. I am pretty sure deli meat and mustard potato salad from Walmart meets people’s highest expectations of me.
But I just decided to rise above.
This is what happened to Charlie Brown. Instead of saying no, he tried to make a Thanksgiving feast for all his friends and ended up disappointing the whole crew until his grandma finally saved the day and invited them all to dinner.
(And on a side note, is it just me or do cartoon kids have some seriously bad parents? I never saw them through the whole thing.)
Anyway, unless they secretly called for delivery after I left, there was no one who could save the family I cooked the chicken for.
Although at first, it really seemed to be going so well.
Three hot skillets sizzled with vegetable oil and chicken parts because I also bought enough to make dinner for my family — which meant I was cooking fried chicken for a total of ten people. I hummed along to Pandora in my ruffled apron, turned on the fourth burner to boil water for my instant mashed potatoes, and threw some corn into the microwave.
Move over Betty Crocker!
Pan one was happily cooking and pan two was golden-brown. As I removed the chicken and seasoned it with care, black smoke suddenly filled the kitchen as the neglected pieces in pan three sat burning to a crisp. Holding my breath and attempting to turn it off, another loud sizzle reminded me about the mashed potato water, which was now boiling over.
Never mind, Betty I’m gonna need you to come on back.
You know though other than the few black pieces, the chicken looked like my Granny’s, and I was pretty proud. After delivering to the family, and now sitting down to dinner with my family, I grabbed one and took a hearty bite.
Oh, dear Lord, bloody chicken.
That’s right, I delivered bloody chicken to a sweet family with a sick mama. And all because I should have just said no or at least stuck with Papa John’s or something I’m more familiar with.
Charlie Brown should have said no too knowing that I really just couldn’t pull it off that week, but his sister, Sally, nailed it.
“It’s your fault,” she said. “Because you’re just too wishy-washy.” Me too, Chuck. Me too.