Last Friday night I put on pair of new jeans, a dark amethyst shirt and my sky-high Steve Madden heels and went out to a progressive dinner party with Mr. Moss. We had purchased this dinner with a group of friends at my son’s school auction several months ago, and since I had never been to one before, I was intrigued.
The invitation referred to it as, “An International Culinary Experience,” and it was hosted by four couples who were doing all the cooking. The best part of it all? The cooks were all our dear friends.
Have you ever been to a progressive dinner before? It’ a dinner party where each course is served at a different home. And I’ve decided that I love them because you’re immediately transformed into a traveling bon vivant, a carefree gypsy of the night, wandering toward the next delicious platter of food. Our dinner went like this. French-Canadian appetizers and wines at the first home. A rustic Italian dinner at the next home, and Irish coffee and desserts, served against the backdrop of a lively Irish jig at our final house.
Whew. What a night…
And the next morning, my mind was filled with snapshots of happy, simple moments.
Clapping, exuberant chefs at the front door, laughter filling the air, the clinking of wine glasses to our first toast, escargot dripping in garlicky butter, a lush Italian dinner setting, a prayer that unites us around the table, a silly trivia game about Italy, wincing shots of Limoncello, engrossing conversations about kids and work and Life. A twilight walk though a secret passage and the sound of high heels slipping on stones. And afterwards, such silly relief and giggles.
And through it all, our chefs entertained us with their cooking and their warmth. The fed us, but they gave us so much more than food. They nourished us with deeper things, and reminded us that we are truly blessed when we can gaze around a room and see familiar, laughing faces from our past, friends that we’ve known over the years and who have watched our children grow up.
Because something magical happens when you’re in the presence of old, comfy friendships. Do you notice this too?
Time becomes blurred inside the intoxicating atmosphere of trust.
One minute it’s today. And the next wispy minute you’re back in time, standing next to each other at those smudgy kindergarten windows, anxiously peeking in at our little five-year-olds. Somewhere submerged in our minds, there are faded years of fretting and nurturing and loving and planning. And then we blink. And the years have rushed past; and our kids are now taking SAT exams, and packing suitcases and leaving for college.
But we remain connected by these experiences with our children. We have become fellow travelers in this enigmatic time machine called Life.
Only sometimes I wonder. Where did the years go? Because I think we still look the same, I really do. Except now there are gray hairs that play hide and seek on our heads, and crinkly lines of joy around our eyes that weren’t there before.
But aging is funny, don’t you think? Aging is like that Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland. First it’s there. And then it’s not. And you wonder, did it really happen? Because I still look out at the world from my young, smooth face. And I still see the YOU from before.
Except that our kids have become suddenly taller and more robust and energetic than us. And they keep reminding us that time is truly a delicate thing…
…and how important it is, that we make time to break bread and make toasts and enjoy the wonderful parts of each other …
…Like my friend who does headstands in the middle of a party.
Simply because she can. She has a mane of fiery red hair and an exuberant love of life. And she exudes sunny rays of energy that cause her to suddenly dance wild Irish jigs with complete abandonment, and do headstands for her guests no matter what she is wearing.
And the older I get, the more I realize how reassuring it is to see these headstands. Because for one laughing moment it means that all is well in the world and we are all young again. And even those small, stiff signs of aging seem to vanish and become momentarily lost under the spell of all the wine and reminiscing and loud Irish ballads.
Because I think that magical things can happen when you’re in the company of old, dependable friendships.
Do you feel this way too?
Bye for now my fellow travelers,