A Salty Tale
Some time ago, our daughter Clare asked us to supper on the spur of the moment. There was no special occasion – John was away and it was just a last-minute thing. Her three sons were there, and we ate chicken and drank some wine.
Just for the record, we eat informally with no telly to distract us. It was an evening with lots of laughter, particularly fresh because it was wholly unexpected and unplanned. We talked endlessly, the conversation bouncing around between each of us: bits of gossip, politics, churchy stuff, films we had seen. Each contribution triggered another anecdote and yet another, with no one dominating or feeling left out.
One of the stories related involved one of Micah’s friends – lets call him Robbie. He recently “borrowed” Micah’s Blackberry just to see who it was Micah had been ringing. (Robbie is clearly a disgraceful journalist in the making!) The boy saw that one of Micah’s contacts was a certain “Milly”. Fourteen-year-old Robbie then texted Milly, crudely suggesting what he would like to do to her if he got the chance, and signed it off in Micah’s name. Unfortunately Milly is Micah’s mother’s sister (his aunt) who is a married woman with two sons herself, and she was riveted to receive the text. Micah was accused of sending porno messages to his aunt and the mortified boy was thus obliged to relate to both his mother and Milly what had happened.
Poor Robbie was unprepared for our salty family and an ambush was laid. The next time Micah’s aunt met the boy, she announced “I’m Milly! What exactly was it you wanted to do to me? What about telling me face to face?”
For some time Robbie was in emotional intensive care. Of course, the story is now embedded in our family folklore.
The boys chattered on about “fairness”, a concept that worries them as much as anything. Micah told us that the week before, a teacher had blamed him for singing in class when in fact the culprit was sitting behind him. It was, he said, “very unfair”.
I reminded Micah of all the things he had done for which he had not been found out and suggested that perhaps on balance he was getting off lightly? After a pause, he agreed.
Perhaps we look forward and worry too much about things that may go wrong. Who knows what the future may hold? I was told once that the acronym for the word “fear” is “False Expectations Assumed Real”. I like that. So stop worrying and remember that in the long term we will all be dead!
Someone once wrote about the sacrament of the present moment and I am sure we should thank God for it. We can do nothing about the past, it has gone, and we should place the future in God’s hands.
On reflection, I am convinced that life doesn’t get much better than that family supper. I reckon – at this precious moment in time anyway – that I am a hugely fortunate man.
The Flying Dutchman
I’m fascinated by the current tradition where dinner party guests feel obliged to present a profusion of gifts to their host and hostess on arrival. Last month we had four couples to dinner and I calculate we darned nearly made a profit on the evening – I counted four bottles of wine, three boxes of chocolates and two pot plants. As I mentioned in a previous blog, I’m not quite sure when this tradition began, for when we were young, none of us thought it necessary to give one another anything but a fine dinner when our turn came around to play host. But that was then and this is now, and of course we have joined in the merry-go-round of gifts.
You have to be careful though – one of our recent guests unwittingly presented us with a bottle of wine I had given them before Christmas. It’s now become something rather like the Flying Dutchman, destined to sail around our social set forever – it’s become a bottle for giving and not for drinking.
Thanks for sharing this. We have some close friends that we dine with approximately every month, taking turns to host. We never bring gifts, we never have TV or any other distraction, we eat delicious food and we talk talk talk, catching up with our lives in an exchange of love and mutual care. Tons of laughter, sometimes profound discussions – we have sorted out the Middle East and every other world crisis – and we have done this for nearly thirty years. It’s an anchor in life’s ups and downs, and we commend it to the house.