Gathered Together

Maybe it’s the nice weather, and maybe it’s because summer is just around the bend, but I’m feeling the itch to entertain.  I find myself flipping through cooking magazines while waiting in line at the market.  Last Saturday, I took a detour through Sur La Table, to admire the beautiful place settings.  I love gathering people together, introducing old friends to new ones, stepping away from a busy life to enjoy a few hours of good food, wine, and conversation.

I hosted my first dinner party when I was a Sophomore in high school.  A bunch of us were going to the Valentines formal, and rather than go to the local restaurant, I invited everyone to my house.  On the menu:  chicken crepes (made from a recipe on the back of the Campbell’s mushroom soup can), steamed broccoli, and Martinelli’s sparkling apple cider.  My mother let me use her best china.  I roped my sister into being our waiter. I spent the whole day prepping, and everything went smoothly till I sliced my hand open with a butcher knife–one clean cut between the thumb and forefinger.  I remember standing at the sink, staring down at the light pink flesh as the blood rushed into the wound.  A quick trip to the emergency room and six stitches later I was good as new.  I went to the formal with my left hand wrapped in a gauzy bundle the size of a wasp’s nest.

The other morning, I walked home from the bus stop with my friend, Louisa. We’ve seen each other every morning for the last eight years. But my daughter is graduating in a few weeks, so my bus stop days are quickly coming to an end.  As we walked, Louisa and I agreed that it’ll be harder to stay in touch.  She just lives a block over, and I can see the back of her house from my bedroom window, but we won’t have the bus stop in common anymore. Between new schools, and baseball season, and summer vacations, it could be months before we reconnect.

“We’ll have you over for dinner,” Louisa said.

“Or we’ll have you,” I said.

It was just the excuse I needed.

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