To Begin at the Beginning...


v. en•ter•tain•ing,
1. To extend hospitality toward
2. To hold in the mind; harbor; cherish
serving to entertain or give pleasure; diverting; amusing
1. elegance or beauty of form, manner, motion, or action
2. A characteristic or quality pleasing for its charm or refinement.
3. A sense of fitness or propriety.
4. A favor rendered by one who need not do so
5. Divine love and protection bestowed freely on people.

I think it's safe to say that my mother is, by far, the best hostess I know.  Some of my earliest memories are little more than mental snapshots of her creativity at work: tea parties with lace tablecloths and bone white china with hand painted roses; backyard barbeques attended by all of the neighbors, red and white checkered tablecloths and homemade peach pie; birthday dinners made special by glittering faceted goblets, linen napkins and carefully arranged flowers, seemingly ready to spill onto the polished table.  

Her finesse for entertaining, as I came to understand, had little, if any, correlation with our financial status.  When she and I lived together alone, and money was far tighter than it had been years before, she still managed to add an air of sophistication to every event.  Christmas never seemed leaner. Instead, we collected evergreen branches, pine cones and holly from the woods nearby, and she spent the weekends working them into wreaths and swags for our home and for our neighbors.  Day trips with friends or family meant enjoying a spread of tea sandwiches and fruit salad on blankets in a nearby park.  Furniture salvaged from garage sales, Goodwill or the curb got repainted, recovered, and restored to new life and beauty.  Money, it seemed, was not a requirement for celebration or indulgence.

However, my mother's extraordinary artistry and creativity, I learned, is only part of what makes her a "hostess noblesse".  More important than the personalized place cards, or the hand written menu, or the sparkling setting, is my mom's uncanny ability to make people feel welcome.  Every person that shows up at my mother's door - whether invited or unannounced - is met with warmth and kindness.   No prayer request goes unheeded, no however-small event is undeserving of a phone call or a note expressing support.  If my mother lived in a cardboard box (and a fine cardboard box she would undoubtedly make it), she would still manage to make life a little brighter by recognizing all of the little moments worthy of celebration.

So in a time of financial and political uncertainty - when the nations future seems overwhelmingly dark and ambiguous - I look to my best friend's example of how to cope: find every reason to be thankful for the day and celebrate it with flourish.  Find humor in the situations around you and never be afraid to laugh at yourself.  Find beauty in unexpected places, and highlight it whenever you can. Find your own reasons to celebrate.  And beyond all else, find a way to entertain grace wherever possible.

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1 comment:

  1. Excellent writing, it gives a great sense of what you're going to accomplish with this site and who you are as well. I am looking forward to watching your work here progress as more people find out about your talent for making celebrations special through thoughtfulness and good taste rather than spending huge amounts of money!


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