Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Holding the Entertaining Bar High

The old people in our ward are incredibly social. Someone will advertise in the ward bulletin that there will be a party, bring a salad or dessert and bring your friends. Saturday’s party was still on my mind Sunday afternoon when I received a call from the hostess, saying that she had found the purse I left behind.

When I went to pick it up I thanked her again for the fun, saying that I was going to blog the evening and wished I had taken a few pictures. She giggled and said, well, ok, but don’t use my name.

I will honour her request. She has a lovely home, and had tables set up for about forty people. But as the doorbell kept ringing and people continued to drive up, Bill called for help from some of his friends. “Go to my garage and bring in a couple of tables from there. And get the round table from downstairs. We will just squeeze everyone over a bit. There is room for all.” In his inimitable way, after the blessing was said he warned people, “There are too many of you. Those at the end of the line are not going to get any food. There is nothing I can do about it.”

Mrs. She-Who-Does-Not-Want-To-Be-Named had cooked an eighteen pound roast, and a huge pork loin, done a roaster full of baby potatoes and made three appetizers: stuffed mushrooms, baby quiches and a new zucchini appetizer that she found in the Jean Pare Appetizer Cookbook. She could have single-handedly fed everyone with no other help.

As the guests arrived, everyone had food in hand. I sat at a table with people I didn’t know. “Is this your first time at Mrs. She-Who-Does-Not-Want-To-Be-Named’s house,” I asked. Some nodded. “Well, I can tell you from forty years of experience, if you are invited to a party here, make sure you don’t miss it. The hosts are generous. They will let you stay all night. Their guest list always includes people you will have wanted to have spent an evening with – maybe her opera friends, or his extended family, or church friends you haven’t seen for years. Always some mix of her children and grandchildren will be seated somewhere.”

Later in the evening I sat to talk with Peggy Estabrooks, Jackie Richards and Erva Sherwood. Someone came by and I stood up to say a few words to them before they left. When I sat down, I do not know what had happened at that table of women, but they were laughing so hard that Erva had a handkerchief and was wiping the tears from her cheeks. I know that moment like that can’t be recreated, but I did want to know who had masterminded the joke that had the women unable to stop laughing. The others pointed to Peggy who denied that truth by shaking her head, but the twinkle in her eye gave her away.

The next day I tried to think how many people had been there. I told Bill that I thought as many as 60 people might have been there. Dead on, he said. Sixty-one.

What is there to say about a couple who are both in the eighties and can host that kind of party.



  1. You hang out with some great people. I miss those west stake gems.

  2. I remember Bill and Fiona. They were dating when I was a young girl and they were MMen and Gleaners having firesides in our home. It seemed like every Sunday was a fireside.

  3. To Dawn,

    Yes, you hit on something my post doesn't address. The wonderful people at the parties that Bill and Fiona host. And all of the information that passes between them. Can you believe that I went there wondering if Jim Sherwood had any of that wheat he used to supply for the ward. And I came away with a gift of it from Michelle who said she would drop some off at my house, in exchange for a few butterhorns. Homemade, of course.

    And Bernard LaMarsh told Kelvin that they probably share a common interest -- the opera. Kelvin goers to the opera and Bernard says he has always wanted to go. Wouldn't you call that a shared interest.

    Yes, those west stake people are gems. Marg Paxman was cleaning up dishes in the kitchen so that everyone could take home clean bowls and platters. Erva Sherwood was collapsing the chairs at the end of the evening. Everyone, just everyone contributing to the clean-up, the part of the event that could be left undone.

    I like your phrase, west stake gems, for that is what they are.