When the weather is cold, I like to make soup.  Homemade soup, for whatever reason, tastes better on cold days.  One day last week was a perfect “soup” day.  The soup of choice was corn chowder.  As I was rummaging through the freezer I found a half full bag of Rhodes frozen dinner rolls.  I decided the rolls would go well with the chowder and set them out to thaw and rise.  Yawlin saw the rolls rising on the counter and got excited.  He loves Rhodes rolls (so do I–anything easy gets my stamp of approval).  Since the bag was only partially full, each in our family would only be able to have two rolls.

Later in the day, as I was getting ready to make the corn chowder, Hub informed me that his sister, “Em,” from California was on her way over for a visit.  She had in tow her thirteen-year-old daughter, “Dee,” and “some other kids.”  Hub took one look at my panicked face and said, “I don’t think they are staying for dinner.  It’s just a short visit.”

“Are you sure?”  I asked,  “I didn’t thaw out enough rolls.”

“I’m pretty sure.  She just said it would be a quick visit.”  Hub’s sister and her daughter had already stopped by for a visit earlier in the week, so he figured this visit would be short since they’d already done all the “catching up.”

I had already begun to make the corn chowder when our visitors arrived.  It was clear that Em wanted to talk to Hub about some private matters in his office, so I kept making the chowder while Yawlin took Dee and the other two kids, a niece and nephew, downstairs to see his pet mouse.  Every once in a while I would hear squeals and giggles come from downstairs as the kids tried to get the mouse to run on her wheel or chew up a paper towel.  The chowder was simmering on the stove when they all tramped upstairs.

“Mmmm, that smells good,” said one of the girls.  “What is it?”

I lifted the lid to stir the chowder and replied, “It’s corn chowder.  One of my favs to make on cold days.”

“It really does smell good.”

Yawlin asked the kids if they wanted to jump on the trampoline in the snow and all of the kids tramped outside.  I put the rolls into the oven.  A few short minutes after being outside I heard laughing and screaming coming from the kids and looked outside to see them engaged in a giant snowball fight.  I stuck my head into Hub’s office and said to Em, “Dee is having fun out in the snow.”

Em smiled and said, “This is the first time she has seen snow.”

“Oh really?  Well she’s in the middle of a giant snowball fight right now.”

“Good!”  Em laughed.

When the rolls were done I pulled them out of the oven and set them aside to cool.  The kids came in soaking wet (and not really dressed for playing in the snow).  I told Yawlin to turn the fire on so they could all get warm.  They all plopped down on the floor by the fire and turned on the tv.  Someone in the group said, “That sure smells good!”

After awhile Yawlin wandered over to where I was stirring the chowder.  “Dinner smells good, Mom.”  Then he paused, looked back to the group by the fire and asked quietly, “Are they staying for dinner?”

“I was told they weren’t.”  I glanced at Yawlin who was eyeing the rolls.  “There’s not very many rolls, are there?” I asked.


“I suppose the nice thing to do would be to invite them to stay for dinner.”


“We definitely have enough chowder.”

Yawlin nodded and looked again at the rolls.

“You’re wantin’ some of those rolls, eh?”


“I suppose if we all stuck to one roll each, we could make it work.”

Again Yawlin nodded and watched me stir the chowder.

“For sure, it will have to be only one roll each.”

Yawlin looked up at me and said, “Well, it’s better to give than receive, right?”

I didn’t stop stirring.  “You are right.  It is better to give than receive.”

We shared our dinner that night.  Somehow it seemed to taste better than usual, and nobody left the table hungry.

I am proud of my son for his insight.

It is better…