i don’t know why i dread dinner parties. i get an anxiety attack when i first get the invitation, another when i’m at the front door hitting the doorbell. and then i enjoy myself so much that i have to be shoved out the door by a hostess who has subtly changed into her pajamas and bathrobe and is yawning quite loudly.
susan grooters (#18) spent yesterday making mushroom soup, pork roast, green beans and sweet potatoes, and a lemon parfait. with home made cookies! she prepared and served the feast at the home of her beau (#19) steve sanders. i became facebook friends with susan and steve because of (#20) charlie, with whom i have written two books. charlie and susan are neighbors and steve is in the same band as charlie–and all three work on the same community theater show every year. added to the mix were mike and cathy leonard, noelle and dan and steve’s neighbor cecilia milot was living proof that french women look glamorous just by waking up. noelle and dan walsh are world travelers and gave me plenty of trips about the coming year–as in, don’t go to the philippines until after september!
we talked a bit about facebook. steve is a newscaster at WGN and allowed as how the station encourages him to have a facebook page and tells him a lot about how he’s supposed to “connect” with his fans using facebook. this sometimes has unintended consequences, as in stalkers.
mike and cathy are a particularly adorable couple. he works as a correspondent for the today show. he said that when he was younger and still working at construction jobs, he knew he wanted to be creative but he knew he couldn’t write, sing, dance, or paint pictures like picasso. but creativity was a home for him, and if you’re trying to get home, you don’t regard any obstacle as insurmountable–the flat tire, the wrong turn, the horrible traffic. so with the money the couple had saved up to be married, he bought a movie camera. this was in 1966 and it wasn’t as simple as going to best buy and telling the nerd in the blue shirt that you want a flip camera. he made short movies of everything he saw and went to television stations, took the artwork off the walls and projected his films. saying “hire me”. he didn’t care about rejection, because it was of no more import than a wrong turn on the highway that required him to backtrack a bit. after ten years of making films, he found a pbs station that would let him do a few pieces. his career was made.
he didn’t want to be a star, he didn’t want to do any particular kind of film, he just wanted to be creative. i think mike leonard made it home.
last week, when i met my friends in southern illinois and indiana, one of the things i noticed was that the happiest of my friends are those who have purpose or meaning. maybe it’s not so important whether you’ve succeeded or whether you’ve made it home. but what’s more important is that you know what that “home” will be–whether it’s the desire to help people, to be creative, to save the planet, to be a good parent.
the party received a surprise visit from steve sanders’ colleague allison payne, an intern, and a huge dog named bear. at last, this cinderella had to go home. steve and susan are natural, easygoing, welcoming hosts. and i’m very glad i didn’t have to do the dishes!
i got to talk about what facebook has done for susan while she was in the kitchen. here’s what she had to say–what’s so incredible is that she can multitask so well.
next up: i have some very committed football fans for friends and i get a chance to understand the biblical admonishment to “love foolishly”