Last Sunday, we invited some of our songwriting friends over to break bread and play music. Few things in life provide as much joy as friends and music.
We keep our house reasonably clean, but whenever we have company coming, we work ourselves silly, making the place presentable. As our friend John Elliott used to say before he passed away, “Fun ain’t cheap.”
We worked for days getting the place ready, and I thought we were set. Sunday morning, while we were sipping morning coffee, Jilda pointed upward and said, “You have to dust the ceiling fan.” The ceiling in our great room is 14 feet high at the apex. I hadn’t noticed, but there were dust bunnies and dangling cobwebs on the blades. It looked like Spanish moss swirling around. Setting my cup down, I went out and dragged the stepladder inside to do the deed.
Once the house was shipshape, Jilda started working on the extras. She cut fresh zinnias and sunflowers from the garden and put them in vases in the great room and bathrooms. She put a fresh tablecloth on the table with linen napkins.
Even when we tell our peeps that we’re just having hot dogs, baked beans, and chips, she always has an ace up her sleeve when it comes to food. For this gathering, it was her freshly baked lemon pound cake.
She assembled the cake from scratch with essential ingredients like butter, flour, sugar, and lard (just kidding about the lard). She’s meticulous in making this cake. Our niece once asked Jilda to tell her how to make it. Explaining the steps sounded more complicated than enriching uranium. “There are no shortcuts,” she said.
After our friends arrived, we talked for a while, played music until our fingers bled, and slammed down some dogs. Then it was time for dessert. Jilda sliced off chunks of pound cake, put on a dollop of whipped cream, and topped it off with a handful of blueberries that I’d picked earlier in the day. Did I mention that we also had ice cream? The next few minutes involved a lot of grunting.
Our friends lingered into the night before we said our goodbyes. They might have still been here had we not heard the rumble of thunder and the sound of rain gently tapping the metal roof.
I thought once we retired we’d have more time to spend with our friends. That has not happened. It seems like we need a Cray computer to work out the logistics and get everyone’s calendars together. I don’t know how I ever found time to work a full-time job.
This much I know for sure – there is more sand in the bottom of the hourglasses of our lives than in the top. We lose close friends every year.
As we cleaned the kitchen after our friends left Sunday, Jilda and I made a promise to ourselves. We vowed that we would find a way to spend more time doing the things we love with the people we love.
Rick Watson is a columnist and author. His latest book Life Goes On is available on Amazon.com. You can contact him via email at email@example.com.