You know what I'm craving?!
A good dinner party!
The kind with music, a few drinks, good food, even better company and lively conversation. The kind of evening that lingers well past the plates being cleared. There's something almost magical about it.
It's not like I was throwing dinner parties before COVID-19 with any frequency or regularity, but I sure used to.
Many years ago, I owned a gorgeous Victorian home in a small town. I loved that house, and so did many others. It was large and spacious, hosting dinner parties there seemed like the most natural thing in the world for me. I was young, I was still learning to cook. My friends were young, and liked that I would willingly cook for them. Monday night dinners became a thing. I wasn't yet traveling frequently for my career, and this was way before kids. Many weekend dinners that turned into late night parties. I'm talking about those years just before social media really took off. No selfies, no barrage of "look at us having fun" group pictures, no smartphones at the table - just human beings enjoying each other's company.
Fast forward what feels like a lifetime, and I'm at a completely different stage in my life, in a different house, in a different state, with a smaller dining room.
Dinner parties sometimes feel like a thing of the past...but I want them to be part of my future!
Not just an open-house style get-together so the kids can run freely (and wildly) around the house and the yard, but real, sit-down dinners with guests at the table.
And I got to thinking. Post-COVID (when will that be?!), could I get back into the habit of hosting weekly or monthly dinners? What would that look like? Who would I invite? People I already knew well? People I wanted to get to know better? Or, even people I know of, but haven't yet met?
I've read The Dinner List: A Novel by Rebecca Serle - even though I can't remember how I stumbled upon it. Not sure I'd give it four or five stars, but it got me thinking.
And then I got to thinking even more. What if I looked through the 435 accounts I follow on Twitter and pick just a few individuals to invite to my dinner table? Maybe not even all at the same time? Maybe as each guest accepts an invitation? What are the odds that someone I've never met, but know of, and follow on social media would even consider an invitation from me? And for those who have others running their accounts, would they even know they had been invited?
With a crazy global pandemic, it would be silly of me to pick a date and a time. No, I don't want to get ahead of myself...
Instead, here are the first eight people I'd like to personally invite to dine with me and my husband at some point in the future. In our home, without fanfare or pretense. And I say the "first eight" people because I'm already accelerating myself into the future where I can vision inviting others to our table as well. The exercise, while largely only in my imagination, seemed to need at least some parameters. I have only chosen from those I was already following on Twitter (as of today), and only picked eight just in case they all came on the same night (a girl can dream!). My handwritten list has twice the number of names, but my dining room table is what it is.
Do you think these two already know each other? Have they ever crossed paths?
For how often I talk about six degrees of separation and using LinkedIn to build your network, your connections, and business relationships, how could I not start my list with anyone but these two individuals?
Lisa Lucas (@likaluca)
Asking the Executive Director of the National Book Foundation to join me at my dinner table just feels right. And Lisa Lucas fascinates me (at least from what I read from her tweets). She would be welcome at my table anytime.
Okay, to be honest, I am not actually sure if Aaron Sorkin is on Twitter. There was some conjecture in 2012 and 2013 that he had created an account, but since I do not know him personally, I really don't the story here. Instead, I might invite the person running the account Sorkin Dialogue (@sorkinese) instead!
Elise Hu (@elisewho)
After reading her story about writing letters to people she didn't know, I felt strangely connected to Elise Hu. I love writing and receiving handwritten cards and letters and have written hundreds, if not thousands over the years. I'd like to hear her stories from this incredible project.
Buddy LaRosa (@LaRosasPizza)
Growing up in Cincinnati, OH, I practically cut my teeth on LaRosa's pizza. It was a childhood staple and I've referenced my love of pizza in several posts and musings over the years.
Oh, to meet Buddy LaRosa in person! I wouldn't even ask him cook!
Dr. Jennifer E Miller (@millerbioethics)
Jennifer E Miller is an assistant professor at Yale School of Medicine. Inviting someone to the table who shares the same name as I do - yes please. Enough said!
Kelly Corrigan (@corrigankelly)
I'm making a huge assumption that Kelly Corrigan might actually say yes to an invitation like this. Here's my logic. I'm guessing she is a huge Erma Bombeck fan. I'm not sure why my mind goes there, but it does. Erma Bombeck attended the University of Dayton. I went to the University of Dayton. Doesn't it just make sense? I've been hooked ever since borrowing the audiobook of Glitter and Glue from my local library, and it was read by Kelly Corrigan herself.
Pre-COVID, I would make at least two trips a week to my local library. Sometimes even with my therapy dog in tow (@tux_thetherapydog) so he could visit with the children's R.E.A.D. program.
With my business trips canceled and my local library still closed, as you can imagine, my social life is pretty non-existent right now. Maybe at least one person will humor me and R.S.V.P. yes for a date-to-be-determined evening!