Given the option, I would choose to get together with family or friends, current or future, rather than to be entertained or have company. It sounds like a subtle difference. Semantics if you will. But the distinction for me can be the difference between being able to relax and enjoy the moment or occasion and fretting over the details of accommodation and appearance. I say this after just having cleaned up the house in general and the bathroom and kitchen in particular in advance of friends who will be joining us tonight for dinner. But I consider that necessary hygiene and good manners when you invite someone over to visit. Not unlike making accommodations for any known food allergies or keeping our Australian Cattle dog under control when company arrives (Sadie can tend to be a bit, no make that very protective of me when people first arrive, even if they have been here dozens of times before). The difference I am talking about has more to do with the stress of having to have everything planned out to the smallest detail. And for me, that is true whether I am the host or the guest.
I realize that some folks really enjoy not only planning all the little details but executing them as well. I am decidedly not among them. Which may be surprising to some who know me best. I have been known to plan trips more than a year in advance and block out dates on my calendar when family or friends think they might be in the area. But I think that speaks to the fact that I always look forward to getting together with those I love and care about as well as those I would like to get to know better. I like having company and I like being in the company of others. I enjoy the interaction, the conversation, the conviviality and sense of community. While sharing good food and drink can enhance that experience, worrying about the details does not …for me anyway. When my husband and I got married, it was on a hillside where we had planned to build our home. I wore an off the rack dress and he wore Levis. My uncle, a Presbyterian minister, performed the ceremony with just a handful of close family and friends in attendance. Later that evening we had a reception in my parent’s backyard with a cake my sister had made. One hundred or so family and friends danced to the tunes played by a band that lived in the neighborhood and toasted with Andre champagne and bottled beer that were iced down in galvanized tubs. Not your typical wedding reception but stress free and great company.
Last night I received a message from a high school friend I reconnected with on Facebook a few years ago. She and her husband are going to be in Maine this coming week and would like to get together for Martini Friday. Absolutely, I wrote back immediately and suggested she give me a call when the get settled in at their coastal B&B and we will work out the logistics. Whether they come here or we end up meeting them elsewhere, I look forward to catching up with my friend, meeting her husband, sharing Martini Friday and most of all enjoying each other’s company. As the saying goes, “Isn’t that the way life is supposed to be?”.