One year ago, today, at 8 o'clock in the evening I had a dinner party.
I called it the Hurricane Ike Dinner Party.
Hurricane Ike had come barrelling through Ohio on Sunday, late afternoon. The winds roared loudly, and blew down trees and power lines and ripped roofs off houses and crushed cars and just wreaked havoc on our lives. The county fair was evacuated, there were roads closed. The local schools closed, some for most of the next week.
(I know there are some great pics somwhere of this event: imagine some here!)
So, I decided to have a party, not to celebrate the hurricane and destruction, but to celebrate our lives and blessings. Also to use up the food that was going to be trashed if not used as it thawed, as we still had no power 3 days later.
This dinner party was one of magnificant proportions. I invited the entire neighborhood.
My invitation was done in person, as there were very few phone calls made. Word of mouth.
It was casual, but formal. Candlelight and only the musical sounds of a light breeze and crickets.
I mentioned the inviting was done in person: The phone lines were down.
I mentioned the candlelight: The power lines were still down.
I mentioned the musical sounds of a light breeze: Most generators were off, as we learned to cycle them on.
I mentioned the musical sounds of crickets: no chain saw noise as they were turned off as daylight waned.
I mentioned the 8:00 time: It was getting dark as dusk approached, we had no light by which to work.
I mentioned casual: come as you are-jeans, t-shirts and sweat from no air conditioning and from hard labor.
I mentioned formal: candlelight, as there were only a few homes in the neighborhood to have power restored.
I mentioned magnificant proportions: Any food that started to thaw in the last 3 days was going to be on the menu. Bring anything and everything that had to be used. The outdoor grill and firepit would be going.
And in the invitation, if you came earlier than 8 o'clock, you were to bring your chainsaw! I said this part jokingly, as everyone had their own clean up to do. But don't you know, some did come early and bring their chain saws and help with our mess!
(Imagine more pics here: especially the ones of the very large bee hive and honey comb found in the largest of the downed trees in the front of the house.)
The Hurricane Ike Dinner Party was a great success! Over twenty people came and sat on the deck, in candlelight, and ate and visited and talked and laughed and ate some more. It was a very varied menu: at least 12 kinds of meat were thrown on the grill or roasted over the fire, a soup, vegetables, fruits, yogurt and milk products. Even a few desserts. The evening was a hit. I don't know if it was the promise of great company or the need to get out of the dark house after three nights of going to bed with the sun! Maybe a combination of both. The funny thing to me was that some of these folks had their power restored that evening. They could have been eating in their own bright kitchens, totally bathed in unnatural light!
Great neighbors, great life!