My home ec teacher, Mrs. Miriam Gaines, stressed "dovetailing" while doing household chores, specifically cooking, in our classes. I learned how to start one dish that took longer to prepare, before beginning the faster-cooking dishes. For instance, start the potatoes way before browning the rolls. Allow plenty of time for dry beans to cook before starting the cornbread. Put the roast in to cook so it will be done about the time the corn is cooked. Ideally, everything will be finished at about the same time, all hot dishes will be hot, and all cold dishes will be cold. The meal will all fit together smoothly.
I suppose that's one Great Lesson I've carried with me all through the years from Iuka High School, through marriage, having a baby, working. Kind of what Bren and I talked about last night on the phone. We've been on "dovetail," on "high" just about all our adult lives: working, raising families and being, if not Supermoms, then dovetailing experts - everything has to be right, fit well, be smooth, be fixed. Be sure to have all the baby supplies in the car before you put the baby in. While you're letting reports print at the copier, prepare the labels for envelopes. While you're returning books to the library, don't forget to stop and mail that package. When you want to see a program on TV, squash your guilty feelings of time wasted by folding laundry.
And then there's this. Which isn't exactly the same thing. But family - how many times have we delayed going to see our family - "going home." I haven't been to Iuka since Thanksgiving. Paul has been once - a day-trip, but we plan to go in April. It's the 40+ years that get to us, I suppose. The weekends are for recuperating and resting, as it should be. I miss that little town and the family and friends there. Just doesn't seem to be enough time when we go - stop and start visits. It is hard to "dovetail" visits. And the older we get, the more we enjoy our own bed and pillows!
So, Mrs. G. - we've learned your lesson well. If you had told us at 15 and 16, we wouldn't have understood, that dovetailing will at some point begin to fall by the wayside and we will learn by necessity and by choice, to slow down a little bit. Sometimes the lesson in that comes by experience, too. When we let the rolls burn, we will just scrape the tops off.