A few years ago, we gathered frequently with friends for potluck dinners, campfire circles, and front porch picnics. We are still on friendly terms with all of those people, but all of our lives seem to have moved into a different gear. Some of the kids are older, going more and more in their own directions. The adults are older too, of course, and perhaps going out less, staying in more. I have a goal this spring, as soon as snow and mud are no longer a concern on our little private lane, to have friends over more often for a big pot of soup and a few loaves of home-baked bread.
I want our Quiet Country House to be like this farmhouse in France, which Alice Steinbach writes about in Educating Alice, in the chapter called "The Secret Gardens." She says:
"Eventually, pots of chocolate mousse flavored with bits of orange rind appeared, accompanied by a big bowl of ripe juicy strawberries coated with sugar. I ate everything placed before me, my appetite whetted not only by the superb food but by the company as well. This was a house of many appetites: for books and music and art and flowers and conversation and, of course, food. It was a house that had been nurtured by hardy, elegant people whose lives, like the olive trees surrounding them, had put down deep roots here. And it was a house from which I would take away many good memories."
Come to think of it, I'll bet I have a few friends who would brave even this snowy road for some Pumpkin Bread fresh from the oven! Maybe I wont wait until spring after all. I want this to be a house for books, music, art, flowers, conversation, food, and of course, friends and family... all gathered together.
photo by Aisling, January 2007