“One of the delights of life is eating with friends, …” ~Laurie Colwin
Don’t you love the sight of a table set for dinner, in expectation of friends and dinner to come? I’ve always enjoyed setting a pretty table as I’m preparing for guests, whether it’s family or friends. Once the final touches of pretty glasses, flowers, and candles adorn the table-setting it looks much like a couple all dressed up for a glamorous ball. Or if it’s a more casual occasion, it can look like someone all set for a day of shopping and lunch with friends. I suppose it’s no surprise I think of a table in that way since it’s really the place where people come together to share conversation and ‘break bread’ together. I once knew someone who always kept her dining room table fully set with dishes, napkins, glass ware, candles — all set and waiting for company. She said she simply loved how good it made her feel to see a beautiful table all set for company.
Since retirement we have been deliberately making time on a regular basis to have friends over to share either morning coffee; ‘h’appy hour; or dinner around our table. I always enjoy the conversation and laughter when we’re ‘at table’ with friends.
A while back I wrote about hosting dinner parties and offered up a few simple tips for those who may be interested in hosting more meals with friends around your table. Since I was again writing about my pleasure in sharing times with friends around the table, I Googled “The Yellow Table” blog that I discovered a while ago to see what aspect of her yellow table she has been writing about. I’m not surprised to read that she is on the same wavelength as I have been. In fact, she has written much more eloquently about “A Return to the Table”. I love that she also sees a beautiful table setting as “all dressed up like a bride on her wedding day”. Yes, what a perfect image.
I took a photo of our table after the last dinner party. I didn’t like how it turned out so I’ll have to try again after the next one. Why not chronicle how it all unfolded, right? I also have a lovely poem to share with you:
Perhaps the World Ends Here
by Joy Harjo
“The world begins at a kitchen table. No matter what,
we must eat to live.
The gifts of earth are brought and prepared, set on the
table so it has been since creation, and it will go on.
We chase chickens or dogs away from it. Babies teethe
at the corners. They scrape their knees under it.
It is here that children are given instructions on what
it means to be human. We make men at it,
we make women.
At this table we gossip, recall enemies and the ghosts
Our dreams drink coffee with us as they put their arms
around our children. They laugh with us at our poor
falling-down selves and as we put ourselves back
together once again at the table.
This table has been a house in the rain, an umbrella
in the sun.
Wars have begun and ended at this table. It is a place
to hide in the shadow of terror. A place to celebrate
the terrible victory.
We have given birth on this table, and have prepared
our parents for burial here.
At this table we sing with joy, with sorrow.
We pray of suffering and remorse.
We give thanks.
Perhaps the world will end at the kitchen table,
while we are laughing and crying,
eating of the last sweet bite.”
I’d love to know if you enjoy having friends over to share meals and conversation around your table. Tell me a story about your table. What’s your fondest memory ‘at table’?
PS: My next blog post is already written but I’ll wait a few more days to post it — the topic is hostess gifts.
“Context and memory play powerful roles in all the truly great meals in one’s life.” ~Anthony Bourdain