Clean clean fix fix for company coming---wade wade through mumblefudge for days, picking up, putting down, planning things in dishes and who drinks caffeine and get-the-ingredients-for-Sis’s wonderful enchiladas and where shall we go out to dinner?
The preparation and the setting out and the cooking ahead have always been a big part of the enjoyment of expected company---as much as I admire the casual ease with which a TV mom stands chatting with several guests in the kitchen as she frosts the birthday cake while the kids are out there pinning the tail on the donkey, or re-watch with awe the astounding Thanksgiving dinners put together by Mia Farrow as everybody in five boroughs mills around the bar in her living room, I STILL like to have things done ahead.
Just sliding a casserole out of the oven while directing somebody to head the fridge dishes toward table as someone else scoops ice into the glasses and yet another heads upstairs to rustle the devilled eggs out of THAT fridge---that’s my idea of being prepared and ready to sit down to dinner.
And we pretty much DID. But, as so many things devolve from Martha dreams into US reality, our visit this week ranged from splendid (an evening at elegant Formosa with their sublime food and everybody-getting-exactly-what-they-wanted in that hushed atmosphere) to our grilled burgers on paper plates and mustard jars and ketchup and the great fragrant plate of sliced onion and tomatoes, the corn-butter smears on everything and the drips from the quick-scooped ice cream for dessert. Messy and fun, but I don't have the advantage of having these people dancing through my kitchen.
Another night we had pasta and meatballs and sausages, with a tongue-curling-tangy salad and the comfy clutter of a crowded table haphazard set with fridge dishes and mixing bowls and the pretty pot the beans were cooked in, with everybody bringing whatever they were sipping to the table in plastic or glass or cans. The whole visit is still a blur, just like the picture.
Our moments were mostly counted in laughs. I don’t think any buncha people EVER crammed so much laughing into three days ever in this world. My sides hurt. My FACE hurt. We bounced jokes and funnies and entendres off each other, each of us exponentially wittier and smarter by dint of the company we were keeping. When Sis brought out her I-pad and she and Sweetpea started conversing through a talking, burping dog---we all just broke up church.
The hee-hawing continued for DAYS. Last night’s dinner table continued all the fun, and Sis’s imitation of the Geico camel, then the I-pad viewing of the CAMEL HIMSELF---the dueling shouts of “HUMP DAAAAAeeeee” between Sis and Sweetpea, and then random blurts of it from all the rest of us, at just the moment we’d collected ourselves and calmed a bit, had us all hanging on to each other and gasping for breath.
And so it went. We were all a bit subdued at breakfast just now, and our parting was a flurry of “Luck Leaf!” and “Group Hug!” and long waves down the drive. I feel as if I’ve just run a marathon---wrung out and trembly and triumphantly tired.
I NEED some tea and porch.