Monday, September 6, 2010

Remains of the Day

Have you ever noticed that if you enter your dining room after a party has just ended, the mood is still there? For a few enchanted moments, the room quivers with displaced energy. The seats are still warm, the wine stains on the tablecloth are still fresh and the chairs still lean into one another in a visual echo of recent conversations.
(After the meal, Scotland, August 2010)

As you clear the plates, brush away the crumbs and smooth out the creases on the linen, ghostly traces of laughter and conversation linger in the air. Let them seep into your soul as the last delicious aftertaste of a day well lived and gone too soon.

Don't you think sharing a meal with friends is one of life's great pleasures? And don't you think "now" becomes "then" way too quickly these days?

24 comments:

Hels said...

Not only is sharing a meal with friends one of life's great pleasures while it is going on. The memories last for years.

A newly arrived couple from South Africa didn't know a single soul in Australia. All my friends invited the couple to dinner parties over the next 12-24 months, an experience the South Africans still remember very fondly. They were casual dinners, more about sharing good food and friendship, and less about elegant restaurants with waiter service.

Tara Dillard said...

Grace cannot be created, or stored for later, but it can be found in a few places.

Sharing a meal is one of those places.

Gardens another.

Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

Jane said...

I agree that the challenge is to make the 'now' last longer and put the 'then' behind you and create new 'nows'.

What I love doing whilst smoothing the creases is seeing the little individual imprint (red wine stains, crumbs, screwed up napkins) that each person leaves at their spot. All so different...xox

pve design said...

Somehow you have added an elegance factor to the tidying up. Martha advises to leave a bit of water in the glasses and leave them til the next morning.
I think there is something quite fun about remiscing of the memories of the night before and the meal.
pve

Splendid Sass said...

Well said. I think I would have sat down and had one last glass of wine or a cup of coffee. Such a thoughtful post.
Have a nice rest of the day!
Teresa

In New York Paris Tomorrow said...

Yes yes yes ... sharing a meal transcends time, there's a bit of time magic in remembering a meal and then all the details filter back in.

Vava (aka Virginia) said...

Lingering after our meal has always been a favorite pastime for me. And, now I shall tidy up with new ("Lisa") eyes. Beautifully phrased...again.

VictoriaArt said...

I always feel this, friends or family around the table make my life rich and I feel blessed and it's indeed one of life's great pleasures. This, and great conversations, shared music and dance...
Lovely image above!

XX
V.

Michelle said...

The book by Kazuo Ishiguro is one of my favorites - and the movie was excellent too. You've captured this sentiment so well. I agree, now becomes then all too quickly.

Edith Hope said...

Dear Lisa, Your posting, and I am really talking about your words, capture so well that aftermath of a lunch or dinner party which too is always tinged with a little sadness for friends who have gone and conversations which have ended.

Like you, I really do believe that sharing food is one of the great civilized joys of life.

Hannah Stoneham said...

We have quite big dinner parties a lot and sometimes it takes me all day to prepare for them - preping food and heaving tables and chairs around the house, and if the sun is shining, into the garden. Although I am not proud in the food department and am always looking for the undetectable short cut - I would never stop doing it - I love the conviviality ... even the clearing up is somehow evidence of fun. Lovely post - thanks for sharing

Hannah

Reggie Darling said...

One of my favorite parts of throwing a dinner party is walking in to the dining room the next morning, when the glasses are still on the table and the chairs are all akimbo, and the room is redolent of the evening past. For it is at such times that I stop and recall what a lovely time I had, and how delightful it all was. And that stays with me, as I pick up the room and put it back together, smiling and humming softly.

Great post.

notsurebut said...

You may like laura Letinsky's photos I think they evoke just the feeling you describe

Dianne said...

I shall slow down and not be in such a hurry to tidy up after the party. Reflecting can be the best part!

AlwaysMe said...

Exactly the reason I save washing up for the next morning. I can relive the evening while washing the wineglasses.

Helen Marie said...

One of my favorite things in the world is having friends over for dinner. I am a cook so I usually take care of the food with the help of a couple pals. Everyone brings a bottle of wine, and those friends who happen to be musicians (of which we are lucky enough to have many) bring their instruments and voices and jam out while we prepare the meal and crack open the vino. Good food, good wine, good music and good friends - really, what else is there?

Helen Marie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
katiedid said...

Yes....and yes!

24 Corners said...

It sounds like you were having a little bit of melancholia for the "then" with this post...remembering the warmth of the Scottish feasts you shared with the ones you love. Those times are always gone to swiftly, thank heavens we hang on to them in memory and in our hearts.

Makes me want to start planninng a wonderful dinner party...and in a country manor no less!

Gifts of Serendipity said...

So true.
You have given me 'food for thought', thank you.
x Felicity

Véronique said...

Cleaning up will never be the same now that I have read your post. I have always loved tidying up after a dinner party: Now I kow why!

Julie Anne Rhodes said...

Well you know I identified with, and adored this post!

One thing I have learned when throwing a dinner party, is not to remove the plates the moment people are done eating - they take it as a cue that dinner is over. Better to leave the dessert plates and linger over coffee as long as possible.

Virginia Blue - Director Blue Fruit said...

That is such a wonderful observation - and so true. I always smile ruefully when clearing away the dishes in the morning after a fab dinner party, because each dish carries a charming memory of life and laughter shared.

Coco Coterie said...

Too true, too true, and well said. Those post-quests moments are very sweet, very soft to linger within. Have a lovely day ~ xox Alexandra

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