When a Facebook friend posted a link to the video below, I grinned and chuckled all the way through it. Sandy and Richard Riccardi capture the challenges of today’s dinner parties, where guests may have all kinds of diet restrictions.
When the video ended, my thoughts turned to family, friends and food, three F’s that are part of a good life. My life has always been enriched by all three.
This close to Christmas, Robin and I feel a tug, being so far from family. His are all in Australia. Four grandchildren are growing up in Melbourne, and his twin brother and the rest of the clan are elsewhere in that faraway country. We are grateful to be living in a digital age, when we can see them regularly via Facetime or Skype, and we are grateful to their parents for the photos and videos they send. But we cannot reach out and give them a hug.
My family is in the States. Few of the family members I grew up with are still alive. I have moved so often I turn to “Dulce Domum” each Christmas Eve, always with a lump in my throat. It reminds me I have found home everywhere I have lived and that our friends are another kind of family.
We are rich in friends. We have feasted in each others’ homes, in varying configurations and always with deep pleasure. We have exchanged books, ideas and inspiration. We have traveled distances to reconnect with old friends, welcomed them into our home, and used social media to stay connected. Friends have come to the library to celebrate the launch of a book I had a chance to contribute to and to Towne Centre Mall to enjoy Robin’s piano playing.
And always our reunions, local or distant, are accompanied by good food. That makes us among the world’s most fortunate. We have easy access to locally produced food and food that comes from sustainable operations. We have enough money in our pockets to pay for it. We have kitchens in which to prepare our meals safely. We stay healthy on the fuel it provides our bodies.
All this good fortune makes me think of my Aunt Grace, who was the soul of generosity. Her cooking reflected the meat-and-potatoes traditions of her Nebraska upbringing. The food on her table was delicious, and there was always plenty of it. If anyone showed up unexpectedly, she invited them in for a meal. What little she had materially she gave away freely.
May we all be Aunt Graces to each other, and may we all have good food on the table and good friends to share it.
Family, friends and food – all three are major contributors to a good life.