2020 has squeezed every bit of niceness out of most of us and we’re grumpy and tired. But hold on honey, the ladies of the South will come to the rescue. We are preparing a beautiful holiday feast like never before because . . . it’s how we love you.
All you have to do is say, “thank you.”
Gawking, shaming and making us feel like idiots for “going to all that trouble” is telling us we’re pretentiously crazy.
When times are tough, we need a hug, and a good meal is the way we hug you. Not just the food, but the entire table, including the little pinecone turkeys, crystal goblets and glitter encrusted snowmen.
“You should have used Chinet.” “A cake from the store would have been easier.” “You’re going to have to wash all these napkins.” Little by little, they chip away any joy we find in making something special until we finally agree with them and think, “You’re right. Why did I go to all this trouble for people who don’t appreciate it?”
As a member of the Committee for the Preservation of Loveliness subcommittee on sparkly things, I was shocked to hear another member’s true tale of horror. After setting the table for guests with her best china, candles, pretty napkins and Gorham Buttercup silver, the guests had the nerve to reset the table when she was out of the room. They returned the dishes to the china cabinet and replaced them with paper goods, including red Solo Cups. “It was just too nice” they lamely explained.
First of all, I can’t fully believe there are such bold brazen boors in this world. Second of all, I can’t believe she allowed them to stay for dinner. I would have faked a deep swoon, going as far to bounce off the sideboard for an added element of disaster and drama. After I sent everyone home, I’d hit speed dial and summon replacement friends who would enjoy the homemade feast while I held a bag of ice on my head where the sideboard mercifully walloped me.
When Aunt Lolly Belle places her silver candelabra on the table and folds the napkins into the shape of the Statue of Liberty, it’s because she loves you. When Jenny Jo serves guests on paper plates, yet bakes her grandmother’s famous caramel cake from scratch, that’s the way she shows love. When Mavis Mae drops an old coffee can filled with cheese straws on your front porch because she remembers they are your favorite, it’s the same as a big giant hug. Love is expressed in different ways, and it’s not up to the recipient to scold or shame the giver. Appreciation and grace are the best thanks of all.
This is the year we all need extra love. We need cheese dips in silver chafing dishes, bags of homemade cookies and fudge tied with pretty ribbons. Our sore hearts in 2020 need to find love in silver cups of eggnog and people holding candles while singing carols on our porch. When ladies all over Alabama provide kindness and extra effort, we truly aren’t inconvenienced. It’s how we love you.
This story first appeared on AL.com and in the Mobile Press-Register, Birmingham News and The Huntsville Times. See and share it with someone by clicking HERE.
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How nice to see lovely tables and to know I’m not alone in my love for beautiful China, silver, and crystal. When I hosted our holiday meals the best part was lovingly washing and polishing my beautiful dinnerware. Setting the table and and adding the finishing touch of candlesticks and centerpieces. Both of my son in laws are highly allergic to our cats so my eldest daughter hosts our holiday meals. I certainly don’t miss the clean-up but I still mourn the table prep.
Wishing you and your’s a lovely holiday season!
Thank you Holly. There’s something to be said about letting someone else do the work, but I’m with you, I love the ritual of setting, polishing and washing. I set the table, and my husband is actually great about helping with clean up, so we have fun while putting it all away. Wishing you beautiful times around the table!
Carson’s famous words from Downton Abbey…”once we let standards slide, we never get them back”! I love the ritual of entertaining and setting a beautiful table. Yet I always hear “you shouldn’t have gone to so much trouble”. And don’t even get me started on church potlucks where I make enough potato salad to feed the US Army, yet a family of six shows up with a pint from Publix…still in the plastic carton.
Oh, the Dinner on the grounds issue has been mentioned here before. I love the quote from Carson — so true!