The sun swept across the dark wood floor forming a light spot in the shape of a heart that I noticed as my mother buzzed around the room with dishes in her hand setting the table.
On the kitchen stove, pans were gurgling as meatballs simmered in a sauce, angel hair pasta boiled with a hint of basil filling the air.
The evening was close at hand and she was expecting the neighbors over for a light spaghetti dinner and an evening of cards and conversation.
In the fall prior to election, the conversation often leaned more to political strategies of mustering the neighbors and friends to get out and campaign or vote for one of the candidates my mother was sold upon. After election, the dialogue kept to local gossip and plans for the holidays.
For me an evening such as this meant I would be relegated to the children’s table for supper and the other children and I would be occupying us in another room with a board game of some nature.
While I didn’t mind these evenings generally, unfortunately, often times my mother’s friends had an abundance of female children. While I guess that wasn’t unfortunate to them, for me, that meant in addition to being relegated to eating with them at the children’s table and minding my manners, I would have to mind my manners all evening as we played. With the girls, there was no running like wild Indians, no rough housing, we played civilized games such as Go Fish, Monopoly, Operation, Life or whichever board game suited my guest’s fancies.
Cheating was out of the question in these circumstances. I was the host; I had to make sure everyone was following the rules including me. This action sometimes got me into some very heated discussions with my guests. I realized that sometimes girls were not the frills and lace I was led to believe, as some of them would get right mean when they didn’t get their way.
If it had been a guy, we could have settled our differences with a short wrestling match or a few exchanged fists, with the victor getting their way in the disagreement and the game continued. You couldn’t do that with the girls. They might have won and then I would have never heard the end of it. Of course, I am kidding, I was taught not to fight with a girl, even though a few of them needed a whoopin’, I would have to leave that to their folks.
Now that is not to say a girl didn’t hit me a couple of times in these engagements. They did and then they would escape to the safety of the living room where the adults were engaged in civilized pursuits.
Did I ever do the same, well, let’s just say, I usually found a way to get even by pulling a return prank of some description.
After all it was my job to see all the kids had a good time. If one was acting out of line, the best way to accomplish a good time were to bring the askew kid back into plum with the rest of us. Sometimes that took some creative comeuppance.
Despite whether my guests were female or male, I did always enjoy these times when I was asked to entertain. It was an opportunity to learn some of the basic expectations for treating friends in your home,
So friends, have you taught your children and grandchildren how to be a host. Not just a friend but also a host in their home. Depending on your customs and traditions, such a skill can lay the groundwork for opportunities in which they will serve them both in their daily lives at home and work.