Monday, November 16, 2009

The Gift of a Day

A and S got married in the summer of 1995. They were going to have a small ceremony on a historic apple orchard run by A's employer, the Oregon Historical Society, and several of their friends, including Shobi-wan and I (who were no longer living together by then), helped with the food and other wedding details.

My wedding gift to them was to host the rehearsal dinner. A lot of the guests were coming from out of town, so I think there were 20 people invited to the dinner. My housemate and her dog were away for the summer, and in the meantime I was taking care (read: watering) the garden of peas and poppies, grass, and trees. The front yard would make a great party area.

I scheduled the day to almost the last minute, since it was going to be a very busy one. There was a staff meeting scheduled at my job at Coffee People. Staff meetings were scheduled before opening and after close, so I attended the AM staff meeting, which was at 5:30. While I would usually feel at least annoyed about having to be somewhere that early in the morning, it happened that being out and about at that time of day was going to give me a nice, long day to get everything done.

My plan was to go to the Canned Food Outlet after the staff meeting, which ended about 20 minutes before the canned food store opened. I sat at a table and drank an additional latte, thinking that this was going to be my last opportunity to sit and relax until late in the day. I hit the store and returned home by 730, turning on the sprinkler so the grass would be dry by the time of the party that afternoon. I washed dishes and cleaned the house, and then turned the sprinkler off and put it away.

I had already prepared Romanian Marinated Mushrooms from the Sundays At Moosewood cookbook, which was going to be both the vegetable and the dressing for a spinach salad. I made three lasagnes, one white and vegetarian, one vegetarian red, and one red with meat. The Florentine lasagne was from a recipe of Phil's mom's, who was moving toward a vegetarian diet, and the red ones were Jujubi's recipe doubled and split in half, with ground beef added to one of the halves.

It was only after I had made the third lasagne that I realized that I hadn't thought about baking them. I couldn't fit three lasagnes in the oven! And yet I didn't want to bake them in two batches, since it would take so long that the one baked first would be cold by the time the other two came out of the oven. This was a big hiccup in my otherwise perfectly-planned day. I barely knew my neighbors, but I was familiar with the little boy who lived next door, and his mother baked the white lasagne for me. She even brought it back to the house when it was done.

A, S, and Shobi-wan (who was the best woman) arrived about 90 minutes before the party was supposed to start. As soon as they arrived, I drove out to the airport to pick up my mom, as she was attending the wedding as well. Upon returning I took a quick shower and changed clothes, and while I set the banquet table Shobi-wan and the maid of honor laid out picnic blankets on the grass.

I had never hosted a dinner party by myself before, and that the timing worked out so perfectly, from the dried grass to the hot lasagne, made me particularly proud of myself.

1 comment:

Amy Stephenson said...

What a wonderful gift it was, too.