The other day, I got a text from my friend Gwyn. Her father had gone to the ER and was getting admitted to the hospital. Now, where I'm from, there's only one correct response to that situation: Casseroles! Gwyn, a California native, did not seem to be aware of the proper protocol and tried to get between a Texan and a mandatory casserole delivery situation.
Me: I'm going to make you a lasagna!
Gwyn: That's ok; sure Dad'll be fine.
Me: Still, you need a lasagna.
Gwyn: That's kind of you to offer.
Me: GODDAMN IT GWYN! Give me you address so I can bring you delicious lasagna!
See, when someone has had a major life event (hospitalization, birth,
death, move, whatever) friends should bring one dish meals that reheat
easily. It is also acceptable to show up and clean a part of their
house, particularly for new parents.
And so my cousin and I spent the next morning making a delicious
vegetarian lasagna (because in California, every family is required to
have at least one vegetarian. It's a law). We also made
some garlic bread and chocolate chip cookies, because everything can be
made better with chocolate chip cookies and then we trucked halfway
across the San Francisco Bay Area to deliver them.
Gwyn eventually realized the magic of casseroles delivered to your door
(and of chocolate chip cookies, which barely lasted two hours). With a
family member in the hospital, anything to take mundane tasks out of
the picture is helpful. Well-wishing friends often send all kinds of
messages saying, "please let me know if you need anything" or "let me
know what I can do," but most people won't say, "as a matter of fact,
here's what you can do." This is why Texans and Southerners will show
up with casseroles or drop by to clean your kitchen.
Lesson 11: When someone's in the hospital, take the family a casserole.
Corollary: Shut up and take the damn casserole.