Your oldest friend is stopping by for lunch, and she’s bringing along her 90 year-old mother. You make a chicken salad with thinly sliced apple and pecans that you toasted yourself in the oven. You ran out to the bakery to fetch a fresh baguette and heated it crisp in the oven. Throw in some large table grapes and some sliced cucumbers and you have a terrific menu. Set the table with your favorite stoneware dishes, put everything out on the table, and you’ve made a meal fit for your honored guests, right? The only problem is that after they take your well-prepared food and fill up their plate, they are staring at this:
Why would you want to subject good friends to this most ordinary experience with your well-prepared food?!
My oldest friend, Lauren, and her mother, Ethel, stopped by for lunch today. It wasn’t a mere cross-town drive for them to come and visit, but rather a 100+ mile drive, which in my book merited special treatment. Lauren’s parents and my parents were once close friends, playing bridge and socializing together. Ethel, who is 90, shares a birthday with my dad. He is 91. At their ages they don’t have too many old friends with whom they might share a meal, and so it was quite the event to have them come for a visit.
It was through our parents that Lauren and I met, back when we were twelve. Lauren and I spent every available day together during the next couple of years, oblivious to the evils of junior high, safe from the ups and downs that befell the typical pre-teen. We took turns making school lunches for each other, she making lunches one week, and I the next. This was around the same year, so long ago, that microwaves were invented, and we gleefully indulged in canned ravioli, spagetti-o’s and other re-heatable, canned delicacies while those around us were content with cold sandwiches.
This is the type of event that merits my finest china. I took out the rarely used Civil War era china, and artistically fussed over plating the food in the kitchen. Being presented with a nicely arranged plate of food, I hope, showed my guests how much of a special occasion this was for both me and my dad. Why wait for Thanksgiving to dust off your best china? Good friends merit royal treatment.