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Authors: Lisa Samson

Club Sandwich

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Praise for
Club Sandwich

Club Sandwich
is a
Please Don’t Eat the Daisies
of commitment and hope—a funny, bittersweet look at seasons of change and challenge, in which belief is the one thread that does not fray. It makes a case for the practical virtue of sustaining faith in which even a dissenter can find joy.”

, author of
The Deep End of the Ocean
The Breakdown Lane

“Forget trying to be evangelically correct:
Club Sandwich
serves up the messy, crazy truth of living a life of faith in twenty-first-century suburbia, sandwiched between endless responsibilities, fleshly temptations, and one wildly dysfunctional family. When it comes to speaking the truth in love, Lisa Samson is the Real Deal.”

, author of
Thorn in My Heart

“In a Lisa Samson novel, I expect wit and wisdom with vibrant characters that live next door to me, and
Club Sandwich
is no exception. But it is more. The character’s thoughts move like lasers of insight onto the page. ‘I’m still careening to the right on the Snow Emergency Route of faith,’ says Ivy of her faith journey. Or in describing the distance between Ivy and her father she says, ‘An arbitrary melody in our lives, he sang his own descant at will, leaving the true composing to my mother.’ Lisa defines that aching place so many women know, as their parents age while their children potty train, and they and their spouses pursue career goals that often separate them from each other. These women hope to do the best they can for their families without losing themselves in the process. I’m a member of Club Sandwich. I’m telling my friends about this book because Lisa’s story both satisfies and gives us hope.”

, author of
A Land of Sheltered Promise

Club Sandwich
is like a slice of my life—and Lisa Samson definitely gets it. With her intelligent wit, she takes us beneath the complicated layers of generational relationships as she unfolds a delicious tale of relevance and redemption. Lisa’s best one yet!”

, author of
Crystal Lies, Finding Alice
, the True Colors series, and
Diary of a Teenage Girl

Club Sandwich
offers us a warm slice of life peppered with the kind of panache only Lisa Samson can dish up. She’s truly an original voice—refreshing and honest. Sit back and enjoy the meal.”

, author of
The Duet
The Celebrity


Tiger Lillie

The Living End


Women’s Intuition

The Church Ladies

Indigo Waters

Fields of Gold

Crimson Skies

2375 Telstar Drive, Suite 160
Colorado Springs, Colorado 80920
A division of Random House, Inc

Scriptures are quoted or paraphrased from the
King James Version

The characters and events in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to actual persons or events is coincidental.

Copyright © 2005 by Lisa E. Samson

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

and its deer design logo are registered trademarks of WaterBrook Press, a division of Random House, Inc.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Samson, Lisa, 1964–
      Club sandwich / Lisa Samson.—1st ed.
          p.    cm.
      eISBN: 978-0-307-55125-2
   1. Parent and adult child—Fiction. 2. Mothers and daughters—Fiction.
3. Female friendship—Fiction. 4. Single mothers—Fiction. I. Title.
      PS3569.A46673C58 2005


To my youngest, Gwynneth:

My beetlebug, my baby, my spirit. May your zest for life never be quenched. May your God-given gifts be used for the good of all humankind

I love you


heartfelt thank you to Lori York, who suggested that a book on the sandwich generation would help a lot of people. And to Kathy Kreyling, for entering those blasted changes from hard copy!

To all my family members, friends, and fellow journeyers, thanks for making it special.

A special thanks to Lori, Leigh, Jef, Heather, Chris, Marty and Bob, Miss Gloria, Mom and Dad S., Val; Claudia, Don, Dudley, Erin, Laura; the guys at Main Street Cigar; the blogosphere writer-friends, especially Jules, Mary, Michael, Claudia, Marilyn and Katy; Jim, Angie, Jack, Liz, Melody, and the Chi Libris family.

To Will, Ty, Jake, and Gwyn, for all you are. Thank You, Jesus, for the dust on Your sandals and the love in Your eyes.

And finally, thank you lovely readers! Email me at
[email protected]
or visit my Web site at


o one’s ever accused me of being balanced.

If childhood maps our future beliefs and actions, it’s no wonder I veer to the right when walking down the sidewalk. If I spin, I twirl right. If I dance, my right foot leads. Perhaps my left-handedness dictates this bent, but I know better. I even look like a conservative with my understated pageboy, my Keds, and my sundresses. Now if I chose orthopedic sandals, I’d look like a member of PETA. And dreadlocks on this stark white woman? That might land me a delegate position to the Democratic National Convention.

My kitchen could well serve as a stopping point for Captain America between missions. Years ago, when I began collecting flag-themed items, my friends and family latched on to it like suckers to wool socks. The Schneider house now holds 179 flags and flag knickknacks. After eighty items, I told them I had enough. Apparently they hadn’t. And who can blame them? Finding the right gift for someone proves enough of a chore. Collections narrow the field. Well, it could be worse. I might have launched an endless parade of pigs or roosters. Or cows. At least flags don’t contract crazy diseases or curly parasites. Sometimes they attract the matches of malcontents. But not in my kitchen.

My most vivid childhood memories still frighten me. I entered life in the thick of the cold war. Nineteen sixty-four. JFK’s assassination found me curled safely within my mother’s womb. Had
nature’s resolve not eclipsed my mother’s, I might still reside there, “the way things are going these days,” as she always said. Does the unborn child assume its mothers emotions? If so, fear began to embroider a repeating pattern upon my heart well before the day I emerged with one fist clamped onto my own ear and ripping it halfway off. The uterus in which I grew from two cells to four to eight “and so on and so on and so on” nested inside a card-carrying member of the John Birch Society and the Towson Republican Club. Conservatism entwined with my DNA, enriched my blood cells, oxygenated my brain and—God bless the USA—the flag, the Constitution, and the death penalty. And all God’s people said, “Amen!”

Leavened by Mom’s Christian fundamentalism, my fear rose like a sourdough sponge in a greenhouse. Fear joggled and popped about our congregation like Mexican jumping beans and escorted us just about as far. In Mom’s circles, the cold war forever remained a hot topic. And the Soviet Union? “Let’s face the truth now, Sister Starling, the USSR has probably infiltrated even our own congregation with a ‘change agent’ we’ve been duped into thinking really loves the Lord!”

Yes, we believed in an all-powerful, all-knowing, and everywhere-present God, but we acted like He’d totally lost control over the good old US of A, and if we failed to win it back, He’d be up a creek. Poor God. Imagine His thankfulness for churches like ours, willing to fight His political battles for Him, to “contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” Somehow, I doubt battling Communism entered the apostle Jude’s mind the day he penned that phrase.

In 1973, a film I viewed at church informed me that in less than two years the Communists would assume complete control of
the US government. Graphic depictions of torture, designed to light a fire of terror beneath the derrières of God-fearing, law-abiding citizens, bloodied the screen. A sandy-haired, freckle-faced boy regurgitated as a soldier burst his eardrums with a bamboo stick. Other soldiers tied ropes around the four limbs of a father and repeatedly lowered him onto pitchforks while his children watched, screaming. Even now, the nationality of these people eludes me, but Asian faces flicker across my memory.

I believed it real footage of a real event, spots and spatters and lines marring the celluloid like an old newsreel. Yet today I wonder whether actors performed a macabre script. Either way, I guess the purveyors of the film deemed “snuff in the name of freedom” acceptable. “Violence porn” they call it these days.

I’ll never forget standing at the back of the church afterward, shaking uncontrollably from a fear that, having crawled inside of me, proceeded to gnaw away at my innocence, upon which no real value had been placed. The fear tinted my soul the clear red of blood mixed with water and dug sharp roots into the lining of my spirit. Should a nine-year-old possess a working knowledge of the Trilateral Commission and the Illuminati?

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