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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sharing the Joy.



If you give a party in this town, everyone will come. Literally. Unabashedly. Enthusiastically. Especially if you cook real food. Meaning: not 1940's recession rations,  canned goods doctored with Campbell Soup and Heinz Ketchup. If you  buy your products from local ranchers, you will be assured quality and goodwill in the bargain.

If you charge nothing for your fuss, you will become an instant hero.

This town has two types of people: those who have lived here for the last one hundred years or so, and everybody else. For decades, Oregon had a saying: come and visit, but go back home. Real Estate agents, and chamber of commerce secretaries would make it clear to you that if you came from California or anyplace else, you were not welcome.  When we first moved here, my husband introduced himself first as born in Portland.  They forgave him for having left and married out of his kind.

So, newcomers have to be patient; they have to make themselves useful; they have to throw parties and cater to the local taste buds. Our first party, for the immediate neighbors, a summer bbq, became our baptism into the town's politics. Feed people, and they talk. Pass the wine, and they'll reveal where the gold is buried.  With the baby-backs and chickens raised up the river, and wine from the bigger valley, and everyone knowing everyone, the party was a huge success. People took home the leftovers and stopped by the following weeks to share some tidbit or other.

Granted, with one or two coffee shops in town serving mostly burgers and fish and chips, feeding people here is easy. Anything that simmers on the stove for a few hours, or has to marinate overnight gets rave reviews.  If it has a foreign name, it becomes mythological.

Besides, many old people don't bother with daily cooking. A stew or a soup  will last them a week. Meals-on-wheels is the highlight of their day. Conserving energy is their mantra.

Both my husband and I work/volunteer. He runs the local food bank; and I run the local school board.  When we throw a party for one or the other, we have to account for taste differences. When we invite neighbors, there is still a third group.

Regardless, nobody turns down an invitation.

For our neighbors, most of whom live far from their relatives, we're having a Christmas Day Open House. We'll prepare a buffet to bring back memories of their past. We'll have the usual, roast beef, ham and all the fixings. I'll add some pasta and pizza, all home-made and from scratch. Desserts will represent my roots and my husband's, Italy and Sweden.  Pies, strudels, panettone, and biscotti will line up together.  We'll toast with Sangria, mulled wine, Pellegrino, tea and coffee. 

In the sunroom, the Presepio will dominate the scene, the houses all lit, the manger a step away from platters of antipasto.

Food may dominate this scene, but the road signs are everywhere. Christian iconography in a new setting.

Good Will will unite us, and beautiful music will cheer us. (I'm counting on the beautiful voice of my daughter and her talented musician husband to get us into the lovely mood, the sharing of joy!)

May you feel loved and nourished on this day. 

32 comments:

Matawheeze said...

A beautiful piece of writing, Rosaria!

Are you bringing some of that lovely food to writers group Monday? After all, I'm of the "canned goods doctored with Campbell Soup and Heinz Ketchup" style of non-cuisine!

Nancy said...

Sounds truly delightful. I'll bet the townies are happy you moved there and not somewhere else. What better way to show you care than cooking from the heart? Great reminder that if we move again - it's up to us to become part of a community. Currently we are right up the road at Cannon Beach for our 29th wedding celebration. Off to Portland today. Merry Christmas, Rosaria!

Lizzy Frizzfrock said...

Ahhh, you make me want to tell a fib & move to your town... but I guess the townsfolk would rail against a Texas native and a Georgia native who has lived in Texas the better part of her life. What you do & share sounds lovely & wonderfully inviting! Enjoy the holidays!

lakeviewer said...

Martha, you're invited, as all the writers. Mike has the invitation to share.
I'm not sure yet about Monday. Too many things to do...

Shadow said...

now that is a community i would love to be a part of...

Eva Gallant said...

Sounds like a wonderful place to live!

Sophia said...

Wow...sounds totally delightful! What a great community t be blessed by. :)

Monkey Man said...

Oregon is provincial - as a native, I should know - but small town Oregon can be down right territorial until they get to know you. We live in a wonderful community. Thanks for putting out such a fine description.

ellen abbott said...

Sounds so wonderful. Have a merry Christmas and a warm celebration.

willow said...

Gosh, I wish I lived in your neck of the woods! Have an extra merry Christmas!

Brian Miller said...

sounds like you live in a wonderful community...hope you have a merry christmas!

Linds said...

I wish I lived close enough to pop in! Your hospitality sounds like the way I grew up, Rosaria - it is such a simple yet amazing way to meet people, make friends, and be a community together. Have a wonderful Christmas!

enchantedoak said...

I do feel well nourished by you today. I'd be one of the folks in your house if I were up there. Your buffet sounds deliciously inviting, and is reminiscent of the open house we just had for AA members. Put out the homemade food, and they will certainly come!

potsoc said...

That is what Christmas was made for even before it existed. The pagan Saturnalia were all about sharing.
Buon Natale Rosaria and to the whole town.

RNSANE said...

Rosaria, I know your community thanks its lucky stars you and your husband chose to settle there. You are the epitome of good neighborliness which is so wonderful for newcomers. I wish I was there to share in the Christmas festivities, cheer, and good food at your home.

Blessing to all who enter your house.

Bogey said...

Okay, so, if I schedule things just right, I could be there for noon on Christmas Day! I'll even help with the dishes.

Seriously though; that sounds like such a marvelous and heart warming treat. Now that is what I call being neighbouly. Ohhhh....the aromas! Sigh! Not to mention front row seats to a couple of really talented singers. We should all be so lucky.

Merry Christmas Rosaria, from my corner of the world, to yours.

Natalie said...

I am sure you will have a WONDERFUL day, Rosaria. All I have to do now, is get on a plane......... Merry Christmas to you all.xx♥

Hilary said...

That sounds just delightful. I'm looking forward to hearing more about it after the fact. Or maybe I can hitch a rid with Bogey... ;)

Marguerite said...

Sounds like a perfect Christmas! The food, the wine, the music, the friends and neighbors! And pizza and pasta from scratch and antipasto salad!!! Wow! Joyeaux Noel to All!

becky at abbeystyle said...

Your generous heart sings! I can hear it all the way to Florida!

Ribbon said...

I envy your community... because you are in it :)

Have a wonderful day and many more years ahead.

love to you
Ribbon

PS.. I wonder how they would cope with an Aussie?

Debbie said...

What a great place. I loved this piece.

Margo said...

how wonderful to live in a place that is so beautiful with such a great sense of community. I still want to move there - I'll throw lots of big parties :) Hope you have a wonderful holiday, Rosaria!

Derrick said...

Good food certainly is one ingredient that helps to being people together. Pity I'm a little too far away! I hope you have a wonderful time.

NitWit1 said...

Hmmm, I wish I lived few hundred miles closer to you. I'd crash the Xmas party. But if it is OPEN HOUSE, I guess it is NOT crashin'!!!

Dimple said...

It sounds lovely! I have a difficult time with practicing hospitality; but it sounds as though you and your husband have made it an art!
Thanks for the visit, and Merry Christmas!

Barry said...

That sounds delicious. Can I come? It would only be a 6,000 mile round trip, but worth it!

And I promise to go home after!

Merry Christmas to you both!!

sallymandy said...

Delicious...I want to come to your open house!

The "come and visit/now go home" adage applies where I live, too. When I moved back to Missoula, my hometown, I sort of had that attitude about non-townies; however, now most of my friends are folks who have moved here from elsewhere, including Manhattan and...even...California! We need the "new blood." We stagnate and stare inward way too much without looking outward and welcoming everyone.

Have a lovely holiday, Lakeviewer. xo. Sallymandy

Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

Ooh, your Christmas Open House feast sounds magnificent, Rosario! Hope you had a wonderful and blessed Christmas!

Woman in a Window said...

I know you will have been loved and nourished. You will receive what you give so willingly. Much love on this holiday season!
xo
erin

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