Prompt: Party. What social gathering rocked your socks off in 2010? Describe the people, music, food, drink, clothes, shenanigans.
I had a moment of paralysis when this prompt first came up, as I’m not one for large social gatherings. Small ones? Sign me up. But those are not usually of the sock-rocking variety. And I know from socks.
And then I remembered exactly what I want to tell you about. But first: I moved away from home when I was seventeen for college, and came back for very few holidays in between. Part of that was because I was a real retail slave, and the rest of it was a conglomeration of distance and preferring to travel home at other times of the year when airfare wasn’t artificially inflated. So I am not emotionally attached to holiday gatherings. I participate, but they’re really for other people.
This Easter, we traveled west of Toronto to spend a long weekend with my husband’s uncle and aunt. Easter is very important culturally to their family, and it was such a wonderful, warm experience from the moment we got in the door until we begrudgingly left at the end. Complete hospitality, wonderful food, in a lovely, well-tended home. You could not ask for more as a complete stranger coming into someone else’s home.
And yet I got more.
You don’t realize that you’re missing such intelligent, stimulating conversation until you’re having it again, and around that table on Easter, the seven of us kept going longer than I thought we could. Through glasses of wine and plates of the traditional dishes, all the way to hashing out another book, it was like time out of time. Afterward, there was live guitar in the living room. I couldn’t stop smiling. I felt like I’d stepped into someone else’s life, someone who did this kind of thing all the time.
I think that’s the best sign, really. When you want an event, a dinner, a moment to be the world you live in, instead of just one you visit. It’s the kind of thing that makes people say You couldn’t really live that way; it wouldn’t be as special if things were like this all the time. To those people I say: Why be negative? Why not try it, just to see how long it takes to burn out on lovely people, fine food, conversation, and goodwill. I’ll bet I can make it last.