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Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

 
This week's assignment for Sunday Scribblings is to invite seven guests - living or dead - to dine with you, explain why you chose them, and note what you'd serve them.

I am not one who loves crowds or groups of noisy people. I do not enjoy parties or social situations where one must be "on" and have a mastery of meaningless small talk. I do far better with one-on-one or small group encounters in situations that afford real conversation and discussion about meaningful issues and ideas. It can be fun and light, it can be serious and intellectual, but always I wish to share my time with people who challenge me and my own understandings.

If you first met me you might think I was either shy or standoffish, but if you took the time to get to know me a bit better, you would soon find that I can talk your head off, and ply you with dozens of questions in my eagerness to discover who you are and what you are all about. Age, sex, culture, or social status have little impact on my reactions, after all - we are just human, and far more alike inside than we are different.

That being said, I have opted to host two smaller dinner parties where more intimate conversation could take place. Rather than assemble an eclectic group of guests to entertain me I would first invite Jesus Christ, Mother Teresa and Mahatma Gandhi to join me for an evening of good food and conversation.

I choose them not because they are famous, or because they are the role models for my own spiritual journey, but because I would like to ask each of them about the difficulties of melding the human side of their nature with the spiritual. At what age did they realize they had a gift to share with the world, an "assignment" so to speak? What were the really difficult times? At what times did they feel like giving up? Did they ever resent their assumed roles or the people who flocked to them for guidance and just to touch them? What advice would they give to us living in the modern world where materialism and self-centeredness reign? What hope, if any, do they see for the future?

Obviously, this is going to be one of those evenings where conversation goes long into the night. Our dinner fare would be something simple and healthy but substantial, with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, and bread made from whole grains. We would partake of several small courses throughout the evening rather than a table laden with an array of rich foods right at the start. But of course I would have it catered, as I would want to spend the entire time focused on the sharing and interaction rather than the timing of soup and rolls!

For my second dinner party the guest list would be more personal. I would invite my mother and my two grandmothers. My mother passed into the spirit realm about fifteen years ago, my paternal grandmother a few years prior to that, and my maternal grandmother when I was very small, I have no memories of her at all other than visiting her bedside when she was terminally ill.

Both of my grandmothers are of European heritage, my paternal grandmother of German parentage and my maternal grandmother emmigrating from Sweden with her family at the age of seven. Both grew up as farm children (as did my mother) and became farmer's wives as well. All three, including my mother, lived thru the "Dustbowl" days and The Great Depression, and made do with very little.

While I had my mother in my life for all of my growing up years and well into adulthood, and spent a good amount of time visiting my paternal grandmother as well, I realized only when I was older and they were gone, that there was so much about them as women, as people, and individuals that I didn't know. What were their favorite colors? What made them laugh? What made they cry? What were the hardest times of their lives and the happiest? How did they feel about their marriages and motherhood? How did they feel about themselves?

How much did my maternal grandmother remember of her early childhood in Sweden? What was it like to be raised in a German-speaking home and school when the World Wars broke out, as was my paternal grandmother? And of my mother I would like to ask, was she ever truly happy? What were her best memories? Her favorite boyfriend? Did she ever regret her choice? Does she understand now why I was so angry and rebellious and how I felt about my role as the middle child? I know this would be an evening of laughter and tears and many stories that I would want to record for my children and for future generations.

The menu for this dinner would have to be the hearty Sunday dinner fare that I grew up with. Could I talk my mother into making fried chicken, which somehow I am unable to duplicate to taste as good as hers? And of course boiled potatoes squeezed thu a ricer and covered with creamy chicken gravy thickened with flour, not cornstarch. Fresh vegetables from the garden, the inevitable Jello salad, and perhaps I could beg for my paternal grandmother's blueberry pie - my very favorite.

Oh! Now I am missing them so much! Memories of long ago flood my mind. Just one more dinner together would be priceless. But I believe that life is eternal and those we interact with in this life will be reunited with us in the spirit world and in future lives yet to come. They are not gone away, just a little distant. Perhaps they are with me now, summoned by my thoughts. I know they must be smiling to see my life at last happy and my spirit at last at peace.


Note: Head over to
Sunday Scribblings and see who other bloggers are inviting to dinner.

21 comments:

  1. i like how you've divided it into two dinners, which makes sense not only for the company involved in each (family vs. inspirations), but for your reasoning that you prefer smaller groups! and those are excellent questions for gandhi/jesus/mother theresa!! you'd make an excellent interviewer.

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  2. Two dinner parties that get to the heart of the person there. Well thought out.

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  3. Beautiful Soph.

    How is your arm doing?

    :)

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  4. Floreta - Hi! I know these small dinner groups would be much more comfortable and meaningful for me. I love to ask questions, I can drive the folks around me nuts with them! :-)

    Anthony - Thanks for dropping by. I'm glad you like my concept of a good dinner group, and meaningful conversation. I doubt I could choose better guests in both categories.

    Liza - Thanks! How I miss your blog! This post came together easily. My mind always seems to turn to "deep thoughts" late at night. :-) My wrist is still a bit painful but it's better than it was. It will just take time. Thanks for stopping in to comment!!

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  5. love your question for the first group. and you have honored your family very nicely. nice post

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  6. Beautifully thought out and written!

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  7. Old Grizz - thank you! I like to get right to the heart of matters, be it family or new friends!

    Linda - I'm glad you enjoyed it. I appreciate you coming by!

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  8. You are my kinda people Sofie. :) I agonized over family or interests but after reading a few on families I would have dredged up saddness. Gandhi was on my list too but Mother Teresa won out. Lovely dinners you have created.

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  9. Welcome Tammy, and thank you! Thinking about my family dinner and the fact that it is only a fantasy made me a bit sad too, a lot of mixed emotions tied up with that. If I had to choose between Gandhi and Mother Teresa, I'd have to choose her as I can realate a little bit easier to her life and teachings, but I'd also like to slide in an extra chair for the Dali Lama - imagine what the conversation at that table would be like! I wouldn't have to say a word... just listen!

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  10. Thank you Desi! Most often I dread social affair such as planned dinners, but in the case of these two, I would give anything to attend! :-)

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  11. What a great idea to have two smaller dinners instead of one large overwhelming one. I too got overwhelmed thinking of all those guests at my table.

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  12. Beautifully written and thought out Sophie. You sound like a nice person.

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  13. darnit-
    i went to the wrong blog :))
    leave it to me
    anyhow- just droppin by to sway hello.
    i have things to do-- but i wanted you to know i havent forgot about ya.
    i'll email or come back later.
    happy tuesday!
    hugz

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  14. You described what would be called a "sunday supper" in my neck of the woods. And boy howdy, it is delicious.

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  15. Hi Soul Sis! Delighted to see you dropping by. Keep in touch!

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  16. Ahhh, Maria, a fellow midwesterner who knows that on Sunday there is dinner followed by supper! :-) Mom made the big meal at noon, and Dad officiated at Sunday supper, usually light fare like burgers. We were permitted to eat Sunday supper on TV trays so we could watch "Lassie", the only time of the week that was allowed!

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  17. It would be very hard to decide who to invite to such a dinner. I would have to divide it up into groups too.

    What I wouldn't give for another dinner with my grandmothers and my cousin. It would be a dream come true!

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  18. I agree Selma, if I had to choose between my two dinnners I would probably pick the latter because there are so many things I would like to ask them now, that I didn't have the wisdom to ask when I was younger, and so many things I'd like to say, but then they probably know what's in my heart! :-)

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  19. Yummy!! I miss those kinds of dinners too.

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  20. Kristi - almost everybody seems to remember the meals that mom cooked at home. I think there are so many emotions tied up with them that we remember those times well. Food will never taste as good as it seemed to at Sunday dinners way back then!

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Your comments are always appreciated... they make me smile! :-)