Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Fancy Dinner

Come on. You are invited to the fancy dinner.

Place: The Living Room
Time: After the children are fed
Dress: Thrift store fare. Formal (women and girls) Flannel (men and boys)

It's become tradition, this fancy dinner. Tonight is the third edition. Women put dinner in the oven, feed the children, exchange jeans for gowns. Doors are shut all over the house as everyone dresses.

Little girl eyes sparkle delight. Lithe bodies swish, swirl. "Look, Papa, Grandpa!"

"Oooh! You're gorgeous! So pretty!"

Mamas appear from behind the closed doors. Mother bodies swish, swirl. Am I still? eyes ask. Am I still your beautiful girl?

Yes. Oh, yes echoes round the room.

And the men, the men that we love, lumberjack men in soft flannel, bubble over with good humor and cheer.

We sit around the table. Velvet. Flannel. Sequins. Flannel. Taffetta. Flannel. And the children serve. "Would anyone like a glass of wine." Six adults coach five young ones through the art of presenting, pouring.
"No, Lil. You can't have a sip out of my glass. Wait."

"Care for a salad?"
"Coffee and dessert?"

Dishes come and go with a newly aquired ease and grace. We look at these beauties and see adults on the horizon. Conversation and candlelight. The last dish cleared. Table pushed to the wall. On with the dance.

Cousins clasp hands, circle, step in, step out. Feathers and flannel, a comfortable place in a husband's arms, bodies close and graceful, grace that is polished by time. I dance with my boys. Joy and abandon with the preschooler. We jump, swing, gallop. He joins the cousin circle. It's my teenager's turn. He leads. A new skill, tender, sweet. He guides, circles, stiff and unsure but gains confidence as he goes. The song changes and he steps away to test his accomplishment on another partner, "Grandma, will you dance with me?" The sun is setting on his childhood.

After a time, the dancers wander away. Only Claire and her favorite uncle remain and then even she tires. Dresses return to closets. All climb into flannels and knits. Sleepy heads rest on pillows...relive the evening...make plans for the next soiree. Come October at the beach. A tradition to keep.


Angela @ Refresh My Soul Blog said...

What sweet memories you are creating! I LOVE your tiara. You are a princess and you all are so beautiful.
Much love,

Mama JJ said...

Beautiful! What fun!


Xandra@Heart-of-Service said...

I think your fancy dinner tradition is wonderful. Especially the part about the dresses being thrift store purchases.

"Mamas appear from behind the closed doors. Mother bodies swish, swirl. Am I still? eyes ask. Am I still your beautiful girl?

Yes. Oh, yes echoes round the room."

You have such a way with express what all woman feel so eloquently.

And the dancing with John...oh my! It brought tears to my eyes and a smile to my face.

Beautiful. I'm so glad I found your blog....


Alyson said...

REally??? There really are places where families have the COOLEST traditions??? Oh my goodness that is great! I am so jealous! what an amazing experience and tradition!!

Sarah said...

Looks like it was a lot of fun! I love the dresses you found. I'm supposed to go to a masquerade party for New Year's Eve, but I'd rather hit the 25 cent store for dresses and have a the party at home - and move the table out of the way for dancing.


Heather C said...

What a beautiful tradition! And you describe it so vividly! :)

Thanks for the photos!

Mary@notbefore7 said...

Love Love Love this tradition! YOu captured it perfectly.

What a great dress.

How wonderful for the kids to serve their parents and see them in their finest and flannel! :)