I neglected to take pictures of the food.
That should give you some indication of how much of a success our first Summer Sunday Supper was — for a food blogger (even a part-time one like myself) to forget to take pictures of the food, she must be pretty well distracted.
And I was. By laughter, by friends, by stories and sharing, by chair jousting and magic carrots in the back yard, by the weed dragon lighting the fire for sticky s’mores.
I absolutely love living in Colorado. I feel like I’ve truly built a home and put down roots here. But I do sometimes wish it were a little closer to Texas, a little closer to family and friends I dearly love. They say it takes a village, and I feel it in my soul sometimes, that longing for community that even my introverted self cannot deny.
But then I remembered that I’m a grown up. I may not be able to fly my mom and my sister and her family out to Colorado at a moment’s notice for a casual family barbecue in the back yard, but I can create my own community. And so, with the help of an article I’ve long since misplaced that talked about the joys of having an open-door friends-over supper night once a week, I decided to do that for myself.
And so I put up a Facebook “event,” and clicked down the list of friends that live here locally, inviting each one. I ended up inviting 15 families — and had a mild panic attack afterward thinking about what would happen if they all came.
But of course, they didn’t. And that is perfectly alright. The method to my madness was that even if 12 families couldn’t come, maybe three could — and did. And maybe three or four different families could come next week, or the week after that.
I got a roast at Costco and made one of the simplest recipes I know. Of course, I had to fancy it up a little by trying my hand at homemade hamburger buns, but even those weren’t that difficult. I literally served pulled pork with store-bought barbecue sauce, buns, and potato chips. I filled a sink with ice and stuck whatever beverages we had in the fridge in it — including half a bottle of two-buck Chuck pino grigio — next to a large pitcher of iced tea.
Friends brought “dirt cake” complete with gummy worms, muy verde salsa, green salad and mixed berries. And it was perfect.
One of my friends reminded me in passing of when we did our The Desire Map together, and one of my core desired feelings was elegance. Let me just tell you: this dinner party was far from elegant in the most traditional sense. Mismatched paper napkins. Kids picnicking on a ratty old Pepto Bismol-pink blanket in the back yard. Sprinkles of rain that deterred no one. Mosquitos. And a weed dragon.
Yet it was amazing. And exactly what I wanted.
I looked over at one point to see my daughter sitting on that wretched pink blanket with kids ranging in age from 3 to 7, all eating and chatting and having a wonderful time and my heart just swelled up. And I looked back at all the grown-ups, arrayed around our tiny two-person bistro table (now seating at least eight) on my deteriorating wooden deck and felt incredibly happy.
I’m so glad I didn’t wait for perfect. Or elegant. I’m glad I didn’t wait until we replace the deck with a nice patio, or until I could plan a fancy meal, or until everyone I wanted to have there was available to come.
We just did it. And it was perfect.
And we’re doing it again next Sunday.
There are only 10 Sundays between now and when school starts up again in August. But I hope to spend every one of them as happily as I spent last night. Making memories.