Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Place To Be Last Friday Night

There are social events and then there are social events.  One of the most coveted invitations is to dinner at Irene's for her big Christmas party.  The basis is a Dining With Friends group that meets all year but Irene fills in with friends (like me!) who do not belong.  We were so happy to be included. 

With our travel schedule and Ted's picky eating habits, attending a home cooked dinner can turn into an ordeal when something is served Ted doesn't like.  And there are lots of things he doesn't like and refuses to try.  But that's a whole other story.  We turned down a kind invitation to join the group on a regular basis but John was fixing tenderloin and that happens to be on Ted's list.

The house was all aglow as we pulled up and you just knew it was going to be a great evening.  Irene and John are the most gracious of hostesses and so many of our friends would be there.

The front was decked with poinsettias, a lighted angel and the massive front doors all done up so beautifully.

Inside was done up even more exquisitely with a huge tree, banister up the stairs and along the hall all wrapped with lighted greenery and a magnificent mantle all decorated.

There is a "party room" at the back of the house where desserts and drinks were located as well as six tables set for dinner. 

There were two servers engaged for the evening to help with serving.  This is the young lady who helped Irene, John and Mary get dinner out to all us folks.

Jeff and Rachel were two of our dinner partners.  They go to our church and we have been in bunco groups with them.  The other folks were new to us but I learned he was a retired 3-Star General and they split their time between Texas and Alabama! 

Dinner was salad which Ted proceeded to take apart, giving me the cucumbers and tomatoes from his, followed by melt in your mouth tenderloin, green beans and potatoes cooked with red peppers (Ted ate the green beans) and rolls (which Ted ate) all cooked by John.  Dessert was a choice of blackberry wine cake (which I had - delicious!), tiramisu or carrot cake - all baked by Irene.  All of the desserts were fine with Ted but I honestly don't remember if he ate any.   No restaurant could have done any better. 

And you know the best part?  John and Irene are one of three couples coming to our house on Christmas Day for a casual lunch buffet followed by an afternoon of Shang Hai.  All of us will be welcoming our children the day after Christmas and I saw no reason for all of us to be alone on Christmas Day.

My house would fit inside Irene's three times and my table will be way less elegant than hers, but that won't matter to anyone.  We choose our friends by how they treat us, not by what they have.  And having friends so willing to share with you is the best Christmas present ever.

The most I can do for my friend is simply to be his friend. I have no wealth to bestow on him. If he knows that I am happy in loving him, he will want no other reward. Is not friendship divine in this?

 ~ Henry David Thoreau

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