Uncharacteristically, I opted not to host Thanksgiving this year.  Simply put, it’s my favorite holiday, jealously guarded– which, I suppose, is contrary to the very nature of Thanksgiving itself.  It is a holiday about sharing.  It’s also the ultimate hostess’ holiday, and even if I’m not the ultimate hostess– I haven’t quite gotten all of the intricacies down pat, nor do I have many opportunities to practice them on others– I love to cook and to share everything that I’ve cooked.  This year, though, this year right now I’ve opted to step back for a season, and I’ll be offering up a few desserts and a side dish or two at my mother-in-law’s table.

I’ve stepped away from the brunt of the holiday planning this year, but I couldn’t quite help myself when getting everything ready for the husband’s birthday lunch yesterday.  In the midst of picking up the groceries, I the decorative pumpkins called my name, and then I came across the Forelle pears in the produce section and simply couldn’t resist the mottled diminutive fruit.    And before I knew it, I was setting up a centerpiece that was almost worthy of a Thanksgiving centerpiece.  Almost.

After our walk this morning, the perfect light streaming through the windows on the eastern side of the house prompted me to do something silly.  I had to finish the centerpiece.  It needed something: a table runner, some acorns, and– oh what the hell– the good china, wine glasses, silver, and napkins with napkin rings.  I just needed to know.

And this is how I found myself pulling down all of the good china (which was so caked with dust that I had to hand wash and dry each piece), real silverware, and wine glasses just so I could set a table for six that would really won’t ever see the light of day in my house…at east not this year.  Of course, by the time I finished my fool’s errand, most of the good light was gone– you see in my quest to set the perfect table for my imaginary companions two hours had elapsed.

But now I know I can do it.  And when I do it for real, it’ll look pretty okay.  Maybe I’ll see in my mother-in-law wants some help with her centerpiece this year.  As for next year, I think I’ll request a return to my regular hosting duties.  I’m kind of missing them already.


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