Wife, writer, tinkerer, grower of food. I'm happiest outside our rambling farmhouse with a basket looped on my arm, picking dinner from the garden. That's joy right there. Please follow along; I'm so glad you're here!
For the past month, Patrick and I have been hosting a Tuesday night dinner for a few local folks. Pretty much since we've moved here, I've dreamed of having regular communal dinners, as a way to encourage and participate in fellowship, and we tried the monthly thing, at first-- and found it surprisingly hard to keep the momentum going from month to month. I wanted something more consistent, less of an EVENT, more of a constant. I also realized I had to set some limits on food, expectation, and guest list. That was hard, because we've met and have become friends with so many folks our parents' age in this village-- but what we wanted wasn't that. It's easy to be friends, but hard sometimes to have real fellowship, with people thirty years older. They're living such a different life from ours-- post-career, post-family, living these lives that are by and large figured out. At least, that's how they seem to me.
2013 brought some younger "stock" to Gilbertsville-- a post-MFA sculptor and his fiancee, a very ambitious couple who bought the ramshackle horse farm just north of the village, an amazing painter who converted a barn into a studio, and did not have a way of heating the place until the end of October-- and I was hot to get us all together in the same room, to troubleshoot each others' lives and socialize. I feel like it's folks our age-- sandwiched between a mortgage and figuring out a career and planning to start a family-- who need that kind of fellowship the most, and who have the hardest time finding it. It's so easy for us all to get trapped in our bubbles, our big houses, our separate spheres. And it's a shame. So I threw our hat into the ring and volunteered us to host the first four weeks.
And we're not even the type to keep a consistently clean house, at all, so that was honestly the toughest part. Cooking a giant pot of soup and my favorite bread machine bread every week was not the hard part. Sitting and sharing a few bottles of wine was not hard.
But it wasn't effortless-- and still isn't effortless-- that process of getting to know each other and getting used to each other. It feels like breaking in a new pair of boots. The first week was awesome, the second week was less awesome but still fun, the third was are we there yet, and last night was like-- hey, we're getting the hang of this! It's starting to take on its own character and spirit, this gathering, and people are figuring things out. Next week, the horse farm folks are up for hosting, and there is talk of Mexican food (James is from Arizona) and Twister.
I can feel my own structure shifting inside to accommodate, but mostly to cherish, this new part of our week. It's a good feeling.