On Wednesday and Thursday I tried calling a few people to invite them for Shabbat meals, but nothing worked out. We weren't expecting guests, not the first time, and no invitations either, ditto.
I had had a very busy week at work and even decided that I could somehow do all of the cooking on Friday. I almost never save all of the cooking for Friday. I like to split my cooking by doing the meat/poultry on Thursday and side-dishes on Friday. But since I didn't have a shift on Friday nor guests, it seemed perfectly reasonable to be able to get all of the cooking done on a long summer's Friday.
Before leaving for the pool I gave my husband the shopping list which included just small challah rolls for us. The two chickens were already thawed and waiting for me to cook them.
At the pool I saw a good friend leaving.
"Why are you leaving so early?"
"My in-laws are coming for Shabbat."
Her mother-in-law is a good friend and they're related to us through marriage.
"That's great," I replied. "Why don't you all come for Shabbat lunch?"
She agreed, and that's how we were suddenly up to four guests. I took some frozen challah dough I had from the freezer to bake an extra challah. It didn't rise all that much and ended up more like a sourdough bread. My visiting friend liked it so much she even asked to take the leftover piece back with her.
Then later on, when I was already back home, I checked my email and discovered that another neighbor had asked if she and her son could come for Shabbat lunch. I happily replied in the positive, and so we were up to six for lunch. I took out another chicken to thaw for Friday night dinner for me and my husband.
Then much closer to Shabbat itself I got a call from another neighbor asking if they could come to the Third Meal, Seudat Shlishit.
Yes, we quickly went from zero to eight, and there was plenty of food for all. The guests all brought something, and I managed to cook too much.
What a wonderful Shabbat!