Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Different Kind of Hostess

There are those among us who decorate their homes with style and entertain with aplomb. There are others who, try as they will, never seem to be quite satisfied. I fall into the latter bunch.

One of my friends recently stated that she loves to entertain, and fantasizes that she was meant to be the First Lady of the country. She probably could pull it off as well as any of the President's wives have. As for me, I'd be like the proverbial wart on a frog's back if I even thought of attempting such elegance.

Picture this scene. The limos pull up to the front entrance of the White House, and one by one the couples file in, dressed to the nines in their glamorous gowns, diamonds and tuxes. At the entrance to the dining hall, the guests (each with invitations in hand!) are met by the I'm dressed in a comfortable pair of slacks, probably jeans, and a sweater. My sterling silver hoop earrings gleam against the turtleneck, and the burnished silver framed oval of onyx lays upon my chest. My hands, rough from gardening, with fingernails of uneven lengths, reach out to greet these dignitaries. I attempt to make small talk with them, but we have so little in common that there are long pauses as we greet each other. These are not people I know. They are above me in elegance, in attitude and in social standing. The china gleams in the candlelight which bounces off the crystal. The huge dining room is picture perfect, except for one thing... me.

Now, flash this one through your mind. It's a simple setting with a warm fire glowing, dim lighting, a Christmas tree clad handmade ornaments from family members. There is little glitter, but for the lights woven into the branches of the evergreens. Soft instrumental music of harps, dulcimers, cellos, violins, guitars plays across the air, as I greet those at my door, and invite them in. We chat about jobs, and grandchildren, neighborhood news and local events. We eat at a large, square table laid out with a red plaid tablecloth and white ironstone dishware. A few snowflake candles floating in a cut glass bowl offer the lighting at the table. It is a buffet meal set out on the kitchen island with seating for each guest at the dining table. After dinner, we turn the music off, and all of us gather in the living room, some on the floor, some on the furniture, and someone plays his guitar, while we all join in singing Christmas carols.

It is a Currier and Ives scene, simple, warm and real, and somehow, I fit into this picture just fine.