The Guests at the Dinner Table-Toothpick PhilosophyPosted Friday, October 28, 2011, at 11:15 PM
My grandson Nathaniel who has eaten his fill and settling in for a well-deserved rest.
THE INVITATION: A planned event complete with a written RSVP. Your best dishes and a groaning table of food. You choose your dinner guests with the same amount of consideration as the menu.
These can be viewed with glad surprise or consternation. In the old days, drop-ins were expected. People traveled long distances and in terrible conditions. The coffee was always hot and a batch of biscuits were 5 minutes from being prepared.
Consternation is felt when your in-laws drop in unexpectedly and your house is a mess and you have on your oldest sweats. Dinner is being served on TV trays and it came in a to-go bag.
This is usually a relaxed and fun event. Everyone enjoys the sitting outside and keeping things casual. Drop-ins are never turned away, because there is a mountain of food to eat.
Church dinners with a variety of casseroles, salads and desserts. NO ONE goes away hungry from there.
THE GUESTS YOU WOULD INVITE AND WHY:
Clearly, most of us would want to see our departed loved ones again. In my case, I would have to have a huge dinner table for them.
It may be someone that you think well of or want to get acquainted with. I would probably say that I would want to meet a few of my ancestors that have impressed me with their fortitude in some very difficult circumstances.
A few people from history would be George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Emma Smith. I could name more, but then you wouldn't get a chance to add some of your own.
George Washington experienced great personal loss during the war. His only son perished from a disease in a military camp. He stood upright before God and spent an hour in prayer and study everyday.
Abraham Lincoln was a unique human being. He had the wisdom of the ages resting on his shoulders. He didn't hesitate to move forward in the face of unpopularity. His personal losses made him melancholy most of his adult years. But he never gave up the Vision of America.
Emma Smith will not be known to most of you. This gracious elect lady stood firm in her faith in God, her husband and the unique calling of raising 4 boys on her own due to early widowhood. I chose her because of the courage and dignity that she displayed throughout her entire life.
In a more casual venue; I would have to say that I would dearly love to have a great reunion with all of my cousins and family.
I would invite Tim Conway to tell the story about the elephant who was a Siamese twin. He would only get to tell the story after we had all eaten, or a great deal of food might be snorted through our noses from laughing so much.
The Pot-Luck Dinner would include all of my friends; both new and old. And a special guest who left us too soon; would be my friend Susan who didn't like her food to touch, so we would have to provide her with an extra large dinner plate.
THE MOST HONORED GUEST:
Of course my choice would be Jesus. If you are prepared for Him to come to your home, a place will always be set for Him.
THE GUEST WHO WOULD BE LAST ON YOUR LIST TO INVITE:
The individual who is completely opposite in their view of life, politics, lifestyle or other issues. it is very hard to hate or resent someone when you are able to establish a bond of a different sort at the dinner table.
Food is one of the greatest equalizers of all adversity. When we share not only our meal, but our hospitality with each other, the dividing line seems to get a little more faint.
Sitting at the dinner table will not only bring us closer but our company manners would kick in. The words "Please and Thank You" will be heard by all. Our elbows will stay off of the table. And no one would talk with their mouth full.
These are just random thoughts and probably the grammar and preachy police will come out and smack my hands for using tiresome generalizations or question my propensity for nostalgia. But I would buy you a coffee or a cup a tea anytime and try to get to know you.
The closing thought that I would like to leave with you is a dinner table is closer and more inviting than a fence.
Will you walk around the issues that come between us and sit for a spell?
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Fixing fence is the one of the hardest jobs on a ranch. I no longer live on a ranch, but I do know what hard work is. Fences are everyone's concern, but nowadays,the "hole" is always your neighbor's side not your own. It used to be that you would respect your neighbor and mend the fence together. If their cows got in your field, a simple phone call resolved the problem. You might even saddle up your own horse and help them gather them up. We need more people who are willing to roll their sleeves up and fix the fence regardless of who your neighbor is. There are people in this country who need to be reminded that a fence is like the way you should conduct your life. Your posts should be straight and neat. The wire needs to be stretched tight and your gate might be closed, but can still be easily opened. And most of all, we can all saddle up together and ride the range, it won't matter if you have an Appaloosa, Quarter Horse or Thoroughbred. The cows still have to be gathered, fences have to be fixed, and the range is a wide open space of opportunity for us all.