Last Saturday, I went to a special dinner that I will always remember. Our friend Diane hosted the dinner as a thank you to her friends who helped her when she fell, broke her elbow, and needed surgery.
“Would you like me to bring apple crisp for dessert?” I asked when Diane invited Clif and me.
“No,” came the answer. “This is my thank you to my friends who were there when I needed them.”
Diane did, however, give us permission to bring wine. Alrighty, then.
Diane is a terrific cook and a wonderful hostess, which means going to her home for dinner is always a great pleasure. But this time she really outdid herself, serving a multi-course, plated meal for eleven of us. Her long table had all its leaves, and it stretched the entire length of the dining room. Candles provided the light, throwing a soft glow on the guests and the food.
There was plenty of wine—Clif and I weren’t the only ones to bring a bottle—and it wasn’t long before the guests glowed as warmly as the candles.
Then came the food, plated and served in courses: mini cheese tarts with carrot and zucchini ribbons; red lentil and winter squash soup; potato, parsnip, and chickpea cakes drizzled with sesame ginger sauce and served with a roasted beet, walnut, and goat cheese salad; and for dessert—pumpkin custard served with sliced apples and an almond-ginger cookie. Oh, my! It was all so good.
Because the meal was served in courses, it stretched over the entire evening, and this meant there was plenty of time to talk with the other guests—kindred spirits, all—about the things we love—books, movies, art, and politics. There were plenty of jokes about how Diane could break an elbow or an arm any old time she wanted, and we would all be there to help, knowing what a fine meal would be waiting for us when Diane had healed.
More seriously, Diane toasted us, her friends who were there when she needed help. We toasted her, a fine cook and hostess as well as a good friend. We were all more than glad to help her when she needed it. After all, that’s what friends are for.
As it happened, I sat at one end of the long table, where I could get a good look at everything—the glowing table, the food, the guests. While I am certainly sorry that Diane fell and broke her elbow, I was so grateful to be invited to this dinner, to this fine night when everyone came together, united by friendship, care, good food, and wine.