Would you be worried if you were throwing a dinner party for twelve people with someone and you showed up at 5:30 and this was as far as she had gotten on the table?
Fortunately for me, my co-host is lovely and unflappable. She and Mr. Blandings had divided the cooking duty and the menu was in tip-top shape. Occasionally, during the week, she'd ask, "What are you thinking about the table?" "I'll know it when I see it. It's evolving." But it wasn't, really.
The weather in Kansas City has been unbelievable all week so we agreed that dining outside would be a treat. A few years ago Mr. Blanding's family planned a 50th birthday party for the eldest sibling. When we went to meet with the event coordinator he showed us two colors of blue tablecloths, the one below and another, deeper blue. We agreed the other blue was best for the event, but when the planner left the room I clutched Mr. Blandings's sleeve and said, "I know I said I wanted to be cremated, but now I don't; I want my casket lined with these tablecloths. I need them for eternity." Decades old, cotton that feels like silk, washed dozens and dozens of times with care, their hand is indescribable.
Branches from the crab apple out front, cloches from Pear Tree, amazing chocolates from Annedore's and we were finally set. If I had had my vision before 3 p.m. the tulipieres could have been filled with parrot tulips instead of having to make do with a few. But I learned my lesson for next time.
The event was a Progressive Dinner for the boys' school. It's my favorite school sponsored event as you have the opportunity to meet parents outside your usual circle. No exception, we had a great mix Saturday night. The ages or our oldests ranged from three to fourteen and most folks did not know each other that well if at all, though I'm sure any neighborhood eavesdropper would have thought we were the best of friends.
Our dessert hostess was gracious about our slightly tardy arrival. As our co-hosts fretted over the piles of dishes we left towering around the kitchen, I told them not to worry. They'd done enough. Even if they had not brought Chester's Favorite Apple and Parsnip Soup I would have been satisfied with their sentiment when we had finished setting the table and I went up, finally, to take my shower. "It's so nice to feel so at home when you're not at home."
It was a perfect evening before it even started.