We have parties in honor of other people all the time---two coming up are a Lawn Tea in honor of our dear Neighbor's eightieth birthday, and a celebration with a friend whose book will be out in October.
I love the planning and the polishing and the cooking and arranging of whatever good things are appropriate to the occasion. The gathering and the conversation, lingering in the candlelight for just one more teaspoon of dessert, a languid sip of wine, another story of our lovely friend Eleanora's Himalaya trek---it's all a part of our own entertaining quilt, sewn piece-by-piece over the years, with colors and flavors contributed by guests and family and moments to savor.
Sometimes I think every party's for me---the enjoyment I have from the doing, the arranging, the looking at the scenes of pretty and of comfortable enjoyment that can be created with a taste, a flower, a warm welcome.
Nobody EVER brings a dish, contributes to the budget, does the dishes---those concepts are as foreign as Madagascar. They know they'll walk in my door, stroll onto my lawn, take their ease and enjoy---and that's as rewarding as anything I can think of.
There's a lovely passage in Edna Ferber's So Big, in which the main character tells her son that there are two kinds of people in the world---Wheat and Emeralds. The Wheat look after people's needs, grow their food, tend the sick, contribute things needful to sustaining life and comfort.
Emeralds create lovely things, spill forth music, paint a sunset or a flower, for the senses to enjoy and receive nourishment, or just bring joy simply by their being the people that they are.
I've always been a Wheat, I think, but sometimes, perhaps, the glint of an emerald or two emerges. I hope so.