First my apologies for the absence of posts. Holidays (may yours be filled with friends, family and joy) plus the need to prepare for a move from our large house holding many for as long as eighteen years, the following January is a daunting task taking much time.
But opening old boxes and sifting through possessions kept for many years brings strange thoughts and long forgotten memories. One I found was a memento from a long ago Christmas present I gave and the memory is worth relating.
In 1975 I had just moved out of a trailer used by my parents while their home was being built on Tano Road which was then outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico. I had heard high praise about a Christmas event held by The Compound out on Canyon Road, the Diner De Christmas Feast, and a feast it was. But for a young man of my earning capacity it was totally out of reach. I would wish to invite my mother and father, my two sisters, one with husband, my girlfriend (whoever that might be at the time) and obviously, myself. The cost, in 1976 dollars was $50 a head. Not within my capacity.
Now it would be a simple thing. I would just pass them a piece of plastic and accept paying 20 percent on the balance until I had paid it off. We do it now with little thought. But at that time, I was not in an income bracket where that was a serious consideration. So I began in January. Each month until I made the reservations the following November I put aside thirty-five dollars.
Each time I did so, I had the truly pleasant experience of anticipation of the event. The whole year I thought about it. What’s more, come November of 1976, as I scheduled the day, made the reservations (including the limo, because no one should drive home after such a meal) all my Christmas presents were paid for. I told everyone invited to dress in Christmas Formal, and meet at my apartment at a specified time.
Thankfully that Christmas season was event filled, because my father had the same thought, though far greater ability, and I had grabbed the only available evening. The diner had seven courses, Lobster Mousse in Aspic, Consomme a La Monte Carlo, Fillet de boeuf London House Bougetiere de Legumes Pommes dauphine, Supreme of pheasant Smitane, Salade de celeri crus et pomme, Assorted French Cheeses, and Biscuit glace a la swisse, finishing with coffee, each course with a differing French wine or Champagne. I, the youngest of the family, sat at the head of the table and can still remember the faces of my family from the time of the presentation of the invitations through to the end of that truly overwhelming evening.
Time, an important aspect of the event. In memories, in anticipation, and in the simple choice to prepare. Somehow it makes a difference. Saving for the event, making that investment, yes in money, but in commitment, in time, and taking joy in anticipating the joy of others.
My mother died the following year, and I married the girl I took to diner. The images of that evening are still strong and true, and will stay with me for a very very long time.