So this week I was rather suddenly thrust into entertaining for a meal at my house.
Although it was short notice and I had a busy week even before this came up, in this case suddenly having a dozen women at my house for a meal wasn't as daunting as it sounds. Someone else brought in the main dish, and another brought dessert. Besides, it turned out there were only eight of us, and we are all friends already.
It was a nice evening, short notice or not. But then having people over is like that. One certainly doesn't have to be Martha Stewart or live in a palace to have people in to for a party or a meal or maybe just a cup of coffee or two. It's true at Christmas or any other time of the year.
Especially during the holidays when we're all so busy with shopping and baking and decorating and planning and coordinating schedules, it's pretty easy to let the opportunities slide by to spend some time with friends and family. It's easy to forget that our people are the best gifts.
I wonder how many times my parents had neighbors and friends sitting at the kitchen table, sharing a cup, maybe some cookies or a piece of pie, and just catching up on the local gossip, farm issues, family news, and perhaps even a little bragging rights were shared about crop yields or rate of gain. That's the same table that now sits in my kitchen, and as far as I can tell it still seems to be place where folks like to congregate at my house.
We had about 30 people here for a wedding rehearsal dinner in September, and it did my heart good that everyone lingered and visited and laughed and ate, both around the table and around the fire ring outside. In July, a rather impromptu overnight visit from a dozen weary, rather wet and quite famished teenagers crashed in my backyard around the fire ring. The simple fire ring in the backyard is my favorite place to have people around. It's interesting how people seem to appreciate the chance to spend some mellow time with friends and a fire there.
I wasn't always so sure about having people over. I think I worried too much about what we'd do, what there was to eat and drink. And what if they didn't want to come? Not these days, though. Whether or not this theory is valid, I understand better now that we all need and appreciate a little time to connect with our friends, to strengthen old friendships and to cultivate new ones.
Maybe especially at Christmas time.