Won’t You Stay For Lunch?

The Ragtag Daily Prompt today was LEFTOVER

On behalf of the community co-ordinator, Chandra Smartly knocked on old Mrs Hopkin’s door. Though she’d been coerced agreed to canvas the neighbourhood on behalf of the Incomers’ Fund and had done well so far, Chandra was rather nervous about asking Mrs Hopkins, a woman the local gossips referred to as Mrs Scrooge.

I’ll keep it very simple, she thought. I’ll ask, and if she protests I’ll quickly say ‘Sorry to bother you then. Good-bye.’ Then I’ll leave and not let her go into all the details of her desperate poverty.

When Mrs Hopkins opened the door, Chandra said a polite “Hello, sorry to bother you..” Then she paused. She shouldn’t have.

Mrs Hopkins sprang toward the opportunity. “Mrs Sung! How wonderful to see you! Won’t you come in. Would you like a cup of tea and a biscuit, dear?”

“Well, I don’t want to trouble you. It’s almost lunch time…”

“Oh, no trouble at all. Come in, come in! In fact, you’ll stay for lunch, won’t you, dear? I have it almost ready. We can have our tea after.”

Amazed, she followed Mrs Hopkins into the dining room, where the older lady quickly pulled a plate from the china cabinet and set them on the table across from the place already set. “Do sit here,” Mrs Hopkins instructed. “I’ll bring you some cutlery.”

Chandra was so dumbfounded that she momentarily forgot about soliciting for the Incomers’ Fund. Had Mrs Hopkins turned over a new leaf, like Ebenezer Scrooge? Is she feeling in a generous mood? Chandra smiled. If so, I’ve come at the perfect time.

“You’ve come at the perfect time,” Mrs Hopkins said as she set cutlery and a glass down beside Chandra’s plate. I had so much food left from Christmas dinner that I decided today I was going to heat up the whole works and whatever was leftover, I’d throw away. With you here to help me eat up these little dribbles of this and that, I won’ have to throw nearly so much away. This will be a real saving! I do hate to be wasteful.”

“Um..Yes, of course, ” Chandra replied. Why didn’t someone need her right now? Her cell phone buzzed so many times when she wished it wouldn’t. Why not now, when it would be so convenient to be called away?

“Now you just sit right here while I get the food.” Mrs Hopkins bustled between kitchen and dining room, carrying dishes of over-dessicated turkey, over-fried onions, warmish mashed potatoes, shrivelled veggies, and some crumbling fruitcake on a lovely plate.

Mrs Hopkins sat down and nodded at her. “Now, Mrs Sung, if you’d be so kind as to say the blessing…”

It took Chandra a moment to gather her wits about her, then she earnestly asked God to bless this food and their visit. She made a point of thanking him for Mrs Hopkins’ generosity and asked him to remember and provide for the many others in need in their community. “And bless us all with hearts willing to share. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

When she saw Mrs Hopkins nodding, Chandra quickly mentioned that she was collecting for the Incomers’ Fund. As she served herself a helping from each dish she added, “You’re so kindly sharing your lunch, Mrs Hopkins, that I just know you’ll want to help women in this town who have urgent need for household goods. And since I’m helping you with your leftovers, I hope you’ll help me in my collecting.”

Mrs Hopkins looked like she was about to start into her usual protest, but she rather grinned and said, “Okay. After lunch I’ll see what I have in my purse.”

Amazingly, she did make a generous contribution.

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