I can’t get over how a group of people can come together, simply because they are related, and it feel so right. We hadn’t chosen each other as friends but met after Mums death, actually at her funeral having just recently made family connections. We were cousins on Dads side with very little of our lives crossing previously, and in my case, I had never met any of them. Strange circumstances had kept us all from connecting until this point but now we had, it seemed so perfect.
Dinner was to be at ours this time and I thought about how many were coming. We often have thirty when our family has a get together but turned out to be a tiny gathering of just fifteen. This made being seated at the table possible. “I can set the table up pretty with candles and flowers”, I said to Ren in America, distance being no barrier to our regular chats. “I think we will ALL be adults, so I could make it like in the house and garden magazine” I mused. Our dinners often had ten around the table but never before could I recall a dinner of just adults. “You go for it Mum”, Ren encouraged me. “Make it amazing!”
Working the day and arriving home with just a couple of hours before everyone arrived doesn’t help to ‘make it amazing’, but I lit every candle I could find. Threw bunches of roses and mayflowers into Vases and Lindy put handfuls of lavender into vintage milk bottles. I put the side lamps on in the lounges, set the table and put some music on low.
(Haha…Doesn’t look that amazing now I look back at a later mock up I did for the grandchildren when they asked why I had candles out so forgive you if you’re not impressed)
Lindy helped me throw a couple of things in the oven as the crock pot simmered its deliciousness into the air. I had started out thinking I would make a curry but when I tasted it, it seemed more like a rich red casserole, so I threw some red wine into it. It’s hard to concentrate on cooking when you are sipping and chatting. You can add wine to dishes when every one is an adult I assured Lindy, and she nodded in agreement.
The first group to arrive were treated to video clips of our party night on Brac with family. In the video great shouts of Zivelli! rented the air from time to time around a table laden with traditional Croatian fare, along with other words they taught us. We were their amusement for a time. We had been plied with rakia and wine at all times of that day, so it was easy to feel celebratory, and we were family returned to the homeland after all. We had much to celebrate. We chuckled watching the video as Tony got up and spoke his ‘thank yous’ on our behalf, with his voice thick with emotion and his best Croation accent. We sang when we knew the words and clapped when we didn’t.
Those that came on Saturday night and missed this part are possibly thankful, as it would just look like a drunkin party after all. What does Yabbaka mean? Someone asked. Ahem….it’s something Rina taught us and the way she laughed hilariously, we knew it couldn’t be innocent.
“Is Trevor and Rita coming?” Tony asked. “I didn’t get an answer”, I stammered. Thinking back I wasn’t entirely sure he was included in the invite. I made a mental note to check later.
Once all were here dinner was served and as with a true pot luck, providing us with a range of finger licking foods from the best cooks kitchens…and the wine flowed. “Oh, we picked a good family”, Jacqui enthused. Sometimes it was hard to hear with so much laughing and catching up. Duane told me she had the exact same candelabra in her cupboard and she’d drop it off to me! Charlotte and her family had been to Italy and Spain since we last met, and Maree & Derek talked of their final travel plans for their trip in July. It seemed like we were a bunch of jet setters comparing travel notes. What a great time of life this is.
I had sliced chokos into everything and after dinner asked if anyone had noticed anything different before sliding out my chokos and parading them around the table. I regaled them with recipe snippets showing what a clever cook I was. I think everyone was impressed. Well that’s what I’m going with anyway. Nobody knew but I had a basketful and I was going to ‘SURPRISE!’ them all with a clutch of them as they left. I had about a million so now I had shared the secret, it was only fair.
When the party ended and the last dish popped in the dishwasher Lindy and Gilbert and I had our third dessert and as I blew out the last candle, I spied a basket. Still full of chokos. I had bloody well completely forgotten to give them out! That’s what wine will do to you. It makes you have a damn good time but you don’t always do what you set out to do. Oh well. We did have a good time and I bet they’re all trying to find out how to grow a choko right now!
Postscript : I hadn’t included Trevor in the email invite. I was horrified and wrote him my humblest apology. He replied….(NB:the following has been abbreviated….)
Greetings from Gulag 18 Inner Siberia Hut 123
Since we have been made “persona non grata” I wish to inform you that our health is reasonable although the cabbage gruel could do with some cabbage in it!!
We implore you to consider that we have seen the errors of our ways and would respectfully request that at the next family council that a motion is put to the effect that we be accepted back into the whanau. It’s bloody cold here !!!! and thermal underwear is at a screaming premium if you can afford it!!
David rang me last Friday and said he’d see me Saturday, I checked the inbox, contacted Sky News, Pigeon Post, NZ Couriers, Reuters, etc. to no avail and then looked in the mirror and was glad that I could not see horns growing out of my head !!!
Take care and we will see you at next gig.
Ahhhh, see why I love my cousins!
Sent from my iPad