Oh those cheesy potatoes...

I screwed up the cheesy hash browns. But that didn’t ruin the party. 

We had a big family dinner planned for Easter. Always big fun, I was really looking forward to it, especially since big fun has been in short supply for the past couple years. 

Then we had a hitch in the plans. 

Or technically, a hitch in our giddy-up. 

In a non-funny way, my wife injured her leg badly enough that she had to spend ten days on the couch with her leg elevated and wrapped in an ice pack. 

This was a problem in several arenas, but the one that really captured my attention was that we no longer had an Easter dinner coordinator. 

Whenever we have people over, my wife is management and I’m labor. It’s worked well for almost half a century, and I’m not eager to mess with success. But this time, she was out of the game, which forced me to look at options. 

First, we could just cancel festivities. I didn’t see that as an option, and I had tradition on my side. After all, the time I accidentally shot myself with a rifle (don’t ask), we only put off a neighborhood get-together for one week. This situation wasn’t nearly that serious so, game on. 

Plan B would be to meet at a restaurant. Most of the fun is lingering over coffee and conversation, and because one third of our group was what some people would label as high energy, I decided keeping them confined to a restaurant seemed unwise. 

Plan C involved inviting everyone over without telling them I’d just picked up four pizzas and a gallon of root beer. It wasn’t the worst plan and had the added benefit of simplicity. Still, simplicity has never been my friend, so I charged ahead.   

I had a little encouragement. When I shared my concern with the lady in the grocery store, she said, “You can do this! You used to run a restaurant!”  

While that's a true statement, I only served breakfasts. I wasn’t confident that an Easter dinner menu of pancakes and hash with andouille sausage would be a big hit. 

Still, I was reasonably self-assured I could put a meal on the table that wouldn’t poison anyone. I understand that’s a low bar to clear, but I’ve always been comfortable lowering expectations. 

No, my big problem wasn’t the meal I was going to put on the table. It was the table itself. 

More specifically, setting the table. 

My wife has class, elegance, and a keen sense of beauty. 

On a good day, I can count the number of plates we need and put the fork where it belongs. 

And that’s on a good day. 

So, that was the issue. The house wouldn’t be sparkling clean, but within accepted parameters, and the food would be edible. But the guests would walk in and instead of a lovely dining room table decorated with wildflowers or antique brass candlesticks, they were going to see - I don’t know, leftover birthday balloons and mismatched paper plates.   

And it’s important to understand, I would be proud of that décor. 

It all worked out. A daughter and a gaggle of grandchildren showed up and made things pretty. On Easter Sunday, people convened from four different directions and a good time was had by all. 

I’m still trying to forget about the cheesy hash browns. 

Copyright 2022 Brent Olson