Meating the Family

As a single mom in the early 80’s let’s say I was… “timid”… about dating.  As a first step a  friend suggested I go to a singles group at Oliver’s Carriage House in our town of Columbia, Maryland.  Soft drinks and mingling preceded breaking into discussion groups.  I met a nice man in a blue wool crew neck sweater.

Oliver’s Carriage House

olivers carriage house (2)

In my group the discussion topic was “Managing Multiple Relationships.”  Being fresh on the dating scene (meaning I hadn’t actually gone on a date since the marriage broke up) I could only think of one way to approach this topic.  I was told to speak first, so I launched into a halting statement of managing my relationships with my mother, my sisters, my kids.  The facilitator quickly moved on to the next person in the circle, who got into the heart of what multiple relationships meant in this world of singles. I learned a lot about how to handle dating more than one person at a time. I never returned to that group because I felt so naive and clueless.

However, the nice man in the blue crew neck sweater and I eventually began a relationship that culminated in our getting married three years later at Oliver’s Carriage House.

But, first, within a year or so after meeting, we decided to have our families meet each other at Christmas Eve dinner in my townhouse. In my previous life I was adept at fixing meals for a crowd, but hadn’t entertained in a long time.  I searched my clipping file and found an easy recipe for Beef Wellington that would serve 11 people.  Off I marched to the Wilde Lake butcher shop.  “How much is beef tenderloin?” I asked. Butcher replied “$9.99.”  Sounded good to me so I ordered a piece big enough to serve the crowd.

On Christmas Eve I went back to the shop to pick up and pay for the meat.  It was at that point that I realized I had ordered many pounds of meat at $9.99 a POUND.  (Obviously, I didn’t ever purchase meat that wasn’t prepackaged at the Giant grocery store.)  I didn’t even have $40 in my checking account so there was no way I could pay for that tenderloin.  I burst into tears and spurt out that I didn’t have that much money and needed to feed my possible future in-laws and whatamIgoingtodo?!

Whether it was my tears or my story, the butcher suggested that I purchase about a third of the tenderloin and also a small rib eye roast.  That way I could serve the Beef Wellington to my possible future in-laws and everyone else the cheaper meat. Worked like a charm.  Don’t the possible future in-laws look happy?

goodpasture sibs 1982

The possible future in-laws became actual in-laws a couple of years later.  It didn’t take long for me confess and now it’s one of my favorite stories.