February 16, 2006

Mes amis, I always get second thoughts right before I entertain. I'm usually in the middle of making radish roses or polishing the wine glasses when trepidation pops right out of the cupboard and scares me silly with all sorts of bad thoughts. The dinner will be inedible. The guests won't get along. Everyone will laugh at my feeble attempts to be a hostess, then never call me again. I will die alone and unloved. I usually get over these fears by the time I'm whipping the cream for dessert, but this particular dinner party made me a little more nervous than usual.

Karl had very graciously accepted my invitation, of course. He and Lois were discussing the new fabric lines when Lois called me into her office. Swatches and patterns were spread out over every available surface. Lois even had some swatches draped over her left arm and she lifted them to show me.

"What do you think of these prints?" Lois asked. She turned to Karl and said, "Mrs. Filthy has an excellent eye for fabrics." What a way to make me blush!

"Ooh, Lois, they're lovely. So bright and cheery, especially this one with the little butterflies on it." I was already thinking about what I would make for Taffy's little princess when she arrived.

"We find that our clientele sew many things for children and grandchildren," interjected Karl. "So, we have put special emphasis on our children's line this cycle."

I smiled and nodded but I was really already thinking ahead. What to say after the shop talk petered out? Mes amis, I have always been bad at transitions, so I just jumped to the next subject. "Mr. Sittenzeplatz? I am hosting a dinner party tomorrow evening. Lois and the other Hancock Fabrics employees will be there, and we'd be so pleased if you could come, too."

Karl smiled, and his smile had a genuine light in it. "Everyone will be there?"

I thought I understood his meaning. He wanted to make sure his little bonbon Suzette would be there. "Oh, of course," I replied and gave him a little wink. Lois probably thought I was looney, but this secret code stuff was tres amusing.

Lois picked up another set of fabric samples and said, "Mrs. Filthy is such a good cook. I know I'm looking forward to dinner tomorrow!" Karl sent me another warm smile, this one garnished with obvious approval.

My boss is such a dearie. I smiled, said thanks and took my leave. Promise was floating on the air, and not just in next season's fabrics.

Of course, that was then, this was now, mes pampelmousses. Were potatoes Anna too fattening to serve to polite company? Would Taffy's hubby promote his rabid brand of libertarianism? Vociferously? Were votive candles tres passe? On the day of the party, I doubted every decision I had made and almost considered calling my guests up and canceling the whole shebang. Then I could hide in my sewing room and eat half-price Christmas chocolate for a few days until the storm blew over.

My pets, the solution is not to hide. I had just read something about the fine French ladies of long ago and their famous salons; those women definitely knew how to entertain and amuse. One highly esteemed lady was famous for hiding a trained bear in a coat closet, just to make everyone laugh. I didn't have a trained bear, but I had something better.

My beloved hubby.

This Week, Mrs. Filthy's Reading:

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling