Monday, November 16, 2009


I'm here. I'm still around, though my recent postings ---or lack of---have belied my presence (or presence of mind, which is another failing, entirely, and easy to blame my fuzzy brain).

Caro and I have spent the last couple of days making lists and tidying the house, decorating for Thanksgiving, planning the dinner and other small activities, as well as a little tea-party for the first weekend in December. We've discussed it over quiet first cups in the early morning, as the house is still, and our Small One not yet arrived, or visiting Memaw that day.

We've written down stuff, looked at recipes, and planned cloths and tables and trays and what will go on them. We've decided on a definitely Southern slant to our little collation, and have discussed toasted pecans (yes, in a pretty silver bowl) and cheese pennies (also yes, with a glass of wine or mulled cider upstairs as everyone gathers). She and I planned and executed so many parties together over the years, it's like old times, deciding and planning and listing and making out schedules.

Paminna Cheese---of course, small triangles cut protractor-true in tea-stands on each table, along with cucumber hearts and egg salad on trimmed many-grain bread. We've discussed glasses and china and should-we-use-the-burgundy-plates-there-are-plenty-of-those, or perhaps the two sets-for-eight of the practically-identical-white-rimmed-in-silver which belonged to my Mother. It's such fun, and so entertaining, and silly-as-all-get-out for two ladies to spend so much time at. We coulda gone on a cruise in the time it's taken. And it's probably been as much fun.

Still, we part, we sleep, she goes to work, and on the next meeting, we pop right back into planning mode, without any introduction of the subject. I go upstairs in my jammies, bearing my hot cup carefully as I climb; she interrupts whatever she's doing, and "What about those little plates you got at the Flea Market last year?---they'd be perfect for the trifle," stands in for "Good Morning!! Did you sleep well?" or "HI!!! I'm glad you're home!! How was work?" as we fall right back into plannit mode.

Then I rack my brain to remember last year, let alone a purchase at some ephemeral market---Oh, yes, I say---I've been meaning to use those, and they'll go well with the embroidered jewel-tone cloth. "But I've been thinking we'd use that on the dresser upstairs," she says. And on we go.

I have things to be doing, plumbers to call, the lawn crew to come excavate us from a forest's-worth of fallen leaves and limbs, writing a-waiting, a little girl who's with us several days a week, the HOLIDAYS coming, and we're just ladies of leisure, as if we'll just wave our fans and all this live-in staff of ours will Presto the whole thing into being in a blink.

But we love the planning---I've always enjoyed getting ready for company---smoothing the guest-room duvet, plumping the Battenburg pillows, making several Things In Dishes to whisk out of the fridge when needed. I already have two casseroles, a ham, and four quarts of spaghetti sauce in the FREEZER FOR CHRISTMAS, for Pete's sake!

But it's fun, and we're grasshoppering, and I've been remiss in keeping up my end of this ethereal bargain made when I sent out that first hesitant, logorrheic post into the Wide World.

We missed out on having our Lawn Tea this year, and for the past several years. We've firmed up the plans for this Christmas one, and I'll will be sharing more of the couldn't-be-less-important details in the days to come. Folks are invited, the cloths are pressed; I have a brand-new jar of Wright's, heavy with the promise of sparkle, and the lift of a prospective party in my heart.

I hope you'll join in the preparation as it progresses.


Southern Lady said...

Rachel, my mother and I were in our "plannit" mode this past weekend. You are waaaay ahead of me, though, with your "things in dishes" already in the freezer! Mine are still in the plannit stage ... lol

I loved this post and it inspired me to quit "lollygagging" and get busy!

Kouign Aman said...

Oh, I'll plan and plan. then two days before, himself will come home from the store with some glorious undiscussed hunk of meat, and I'll adapt. :lol:

Its the little parties that are so much fun, with the small foods, and all the graces about the table - the fine plates, delicate tablecloths, flowers, dishes etc.

And the ones with overnight guests, so that the things in dishes come into their own as the leftovers arrive re-plated and pretty again as well. you make that part magical.

Its lovely to read of you and Caro planning and working together.

Keetha said...

I love "eavesdropping" on you two as you plan - I know it all by heart!

We're hosting Thanksgiving this year. The menu is in place. Last night we talked about what we'll put on the table. Last night we also began painting the dining room. :-)

Nail said...

We are going to the Ole Miss/LSU game this weekend, 13 hours of driving and picking up oldest son at Little Rock airport on the way! I have planned that food but not Thanksgiving. We have 14 people coming to my house for T-giving and I haven't even bought the turkey....but you know what??? Thanksgiving will be beautiful, the table will somehow get set and my lovely sister will provide delicious recipes as usual! Luv you by the way...but now I must away for I have great things to do this weekend. Not the least of which is to tell LSU where they may go!!!! Little Sis

Tonja said... many times the best part of an occasion is the planning and anticipation. My Mom and I used to love to plan parties and get togethers.

racheld said...

And now I AM the Mom. We make a good team, though. She plans and perfects, bakes and garnishes and cooks and arranges, and I try to remember where I put that stack of white napkins, and which box are the ornaments in.


We have a menu, which dishes, cloths and napkins, silverware, serving pieces and tables to use; the guests should have all replied soon, so we'll have the numbers. I always like to shop on Thursday or Friday for a Sunday party.

Keetha, we put in a new slate floor in the kitchen one week before DS#2's wedding, and I was doing all the food for 200!! It gets better---Chris said that since I'd been wanting to paint, and all the appliances were out, how about NOW? And I did.

And my DEAR Sis---I see you've been reading too much Jane Austen again---hearing "I must awaaaaay . . ." in a Southern accent lends a certain flair to the effect. I suppose you'll also be yelling, "Hie Thee to hell, LSU!"