Monday, April 18, 2016

The Banquet

i never learned to host large gatherings, cook elaborate dinners, set a proper table, know how to engage the person on my left and the person on my right, remove dishes with precision, create a harmonious atmosphere, have after dinner conversation, engage in banter, be at ease in social settings nor did i learn those skills in my childhood home where save for my mother's mahjong group meeting in  our living room once a month i don't recall many guests and my mother not only was a uninspired cook but she also didn't care to cook

i never owned a toy oven or played with a tea set nor did i ever create elaborate plays that involved dinner guests and the few times i attempted to stage a gathering for six or seven or eight people i found it quite anxiety provoking and couldn't find appropriate recipes so my history of playing the hostess is limited and not a position i gravitate to

years ago i belonged to a large book group and come christmas we had a pot luck dinner at our house where the only thing i provided were nacho appetizers created in the microwave while the rest of the food was brought by the members and they knew whether they were to bring salads, main dishes, desserts or appetizers      after dinner we gathered to discuss the book  and prior to dinner we had made name tags with the names of luminaries in the arts --high brow and low brow and people walked around asking questions which could only be answered yes or no as they attempted to find out whose name they carried on their back and it all made for a lively discussion without the awkwardness of generating conversation with your table partner

about three weeks ago i received a call from a relative asking if they could have a family dinner here and they will prepare all the food and this isn't just any food this is a passover sedar and i don't celebrate passover anymore so I don't have any of the ritual objects but that too wasn't a problem and when i said that we don't have lots of pots nor do we own a roasting pan since we don't eat meat they planned to cook elsewhere and bring the food here

we must borrow chairs from the church, bridge tables from friends, figure out how to seat seventeen or eighteen people not worry about our new wood floors or area rugs hope for nice weather and be gracious and possibly meet three people we've never met before and see someone we haven't seen for decades although that is up in the air

frankly i'd rather go out for an informal dinner that has a more defined beginning and end

i know that i should be looking forward to this family gathering but i've become somewhat of a curmudgeon, a denizen of a social backwater unless it's around two or three or possibly four people  so it is with more than a smidgen of anxiety that i await Friday's festivities



Blogger Louise said...

Oh my Linda. Good and true post. This is definitely one to trust to the Spirit.

April 19, 2016  

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