Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – December 19, 2004
Another Successful Soiree
Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – December 19, 2004 – I got to bed last night about quarter to three. Big stayed and helped me with the initial clean up after the last of my guests departed. We lifted the plywood extension off the dining room table, because it’s a task that’s incredibly difficult to do alone. Big left about two in the morning and I puttered in clean up mode for another hour before I called it a day.
When I got up this morning I just had another hour of tidy up chores before the house was back to normal. The plywood table top (which allows me to have a sit down dinner for up to fourteen) and the six folding chairs are still in the hallway, but I’ll get to those tomorrow.
It’s a frigid cold day, and I spent most of it on the living room sofa, listening to beautiful music, drinking tea and devouring another intriguing Patricia Cromwell murder thriller. I love this genre of book and I sometimes wonder if I have a diabolical life lurking in my past. I’m often able to figure out who dunnit, but this one is keeping me guessing, and I’m three quarters of the way through. I may soon have to admit defeat on this one. My reading reverie was briefly interrupted when Sima and Dorothy called me this afternoon to thank me for another wonderful dinner party.
After I hung up, I sat and thought about the evening. The house looked lovely, the table was beautiful. My plywood table topper was concealed by a crisp, white linen table cloth. Twelve gold charger plates sat beneath ‘Christmas red’ dinner plates and red wine glasses sparkled in the candle light. A cheerful red plaid serviette at each place, gold reindeer and crystal candle holders accented the dinner table.
Place cards directed each guest to the appropriate chair. My friends started to arrive just after seven o’clock and by eight we were all munching on pate, cheese, crackers, nuts and chocolates. Because most of the food had been prepared the day before, my kitchen duties were at a minimum and I was able to enjoy the evening so much more. Dorothy always says that “simplicity” is the key to relaxed entertaining and I think that’s true.
The beef bourguignonne was piping hot and absolutely delicious and the roasted peppers and brussels sprouts were the perfect choice for a scrumptious dinner. Dorothy’s trifle disappeared in no time, not a lick of it left for me to savour today. After dinner we cleared away the plates, loaded the dishwasher and I passed out gifts to my family and friends. It was time for The Inukshuk 12 to go to their adoptive parents. I think everyone was pleased, surprised, and in some cases touched by their gifts.
Each person, in turn, read out their Inukshuk message. It was a rather sweet moment for me. So much time and energy had gone into this creative project, and it was nice to have my efforts appreciated. I hope the little stone statues give my friends as much pleasure, as making them gave me. They are out in the world on their own now and only “Spirit of the Animals” – my own Inukshuk remains as a reminder of the twelve little stone beings who were the recipients of my creative energy this past October.
Gift opening was followed by a raucous tournament of Mad Gab, a game I bought to replace my usual obligatory Christmas Quiz. There was great cheering when I announced that there would be no quiz this year. We played teams, quite naturally men against the women, and we femme fatales triumphed. The last two gifts went in a draw to Sima and Dorothy. Yawns and nods soon followed and coats and gloves reappeared as my guests started to leave. So much work goes into the preparation of my annual Christmas party, but as I said goodbye to my friends at the front door, I knew it was well worth the effort.
Joe was travelling this year and he was greatly missed, but to Chris, Neil, Sima, Loghman, Iris, Larry, Eric, Dorothy, Paul, Big and Dwane – thank you for being part of my life, for your friendship, the love and the laughter. If you ever wonder about the value of friendship or question why you make the effort to nurture, protect and value your friends – just invite them over for dinner and then look into their eyes as you share a meal with them. These are the people who have your back, who love and trust you. It doesn’t get any better – friends quite simply put are pure gold.