Normally, everything would be on silver. But there was not enough silver in Williamson County for Larry Kirk’s funeral reception. I talked to you a few days ago about how seriously Episcopal women take their funeral receptions. Normally, everything would be served on silver. But, Lordy, there was a lot of food brought by the ladies of the church and we just didn’t have enough silver platters to go around.
We had so much food that we had to go vertical, bringing out the plate tiers from the English tea and stacking the tea sandwiches three stories high.
We had three kinds of tea: fruit tea, almond lemon tea and sugar-free (but still sweet, of course). Mark said the fruit tea kind of looked like the Bourbon Slushes Larry used to make for parties. They were delicious and would not have been out of place here except that everyone had to drive home afterwards. You can make all the jokes you want to about Whiskeypalions but we do have a good time and you can’t take that away from us.
The large table was for the savories – chicken salad sandwiches, pimento cheese sandwiches, cheese and fruit, ham on yeast rolls…well, I could go on and on. The smaller table was for sweets. You just never mix the two.
We probably had three hundred people come down to Otey Hall after the funeral, a testament to Larry’s immense popularity at St. Paul’s, and also to Ellen, his wife, who is just a peach. We strongly broke with tradition about one thing. Larry just loved Cheetos. Didn’t matter if they were the puffy kind or the crunchy kind. I think it was that fake cheese powder that seduced him, but he could go through a bag a day. So Susan Miller got the bright idea to get a bunch of Cheetos and put them in a silver punch bowl. Normally, Cheetos would not be encouraged at a funeral reception, but you know we went through about two thirds of the bowl in about an hour. Thank goodness we weren’t using linen napkins. That would have been a nightmare to clean up.
So my job was to roam around and make sure all the platters and plates were fully stocked. There is NOTHING WORSE at a funeral reception than seeing an empty spot on a plate of finger sandwiches. Kathy Ulezelski ( that’s her in the apron juggling extra plates) was the commander in the kitchen and she made sure we had extra platters of food at the ready. Kathy is an amazing woman. She not only organized the reception, but washed the lion’s share of the dishes AND set up for the annual bazaar in the same room not an hour after the reception ended. It’s just hard to keep up with her so I don’t even try. That’s me grabbing another plate and heading back out into the crowd. It’s not a key job, but let me tell you that if there’s an empty plate of anything on the reception table it will not go unnoticed by the ladies of the church. It’s just the way it is.
In the end, everyone got fed. Everyone embraced Ellen and her wonderful family. Everyone felt like we’d done Larry proud and we know that he was checking in on us. I’d like to think there are unlimited quantities of Cheetos in heaven. No, that’s not right. I know there are.