I had a weekend full of long, unhurried and delicious meals. Is there really anything better than that? I seriously doubt it.
Dinner Friday night was spent with family, both immediate and extended, at a place with a great chef that my parents frequent. It lasted three hours over cocktails, wine, salad and potatoes (hi, we're still observing Lent over here) steak and fish for the others, all of which were praised. I sat and looked down the table at the group lingering over dessert, and wondered how many times I've sat at different tables with the same people. Countless, undoubtedly.
Saturday mid-afternoon I was with two friends, MK and FR, who I have known since the ripe age of nine. The three of us roamed in and out of stores in the downtown square of the city we grew up in, and settled on a bottle of refreshingly cold Pinot Grigio and salads in a restaurant bar as it was deserted and in between meals. We sat there as afternoon stretched into evening, talking, drinking and observing the other group in the room. It was men in their late twenties, early thirties, in tuxedos sitting and drinking before a 6p.m. wedding. I could not help but hope that the man I marry doesn't feel the need to drink four glasses of Stella Artois before tying the knot.
We left as the evening crowd started to roll in, and hours later met up in Dallas for dinner, Italian, with FR's family. I had not seen her older sister, who is married, nor her brother, who goes to college on the West coast, in a very long time. There were other family friends of theirs present and after a brief consultation with the wine menu, bottles of Chianti made rounds with everyone present. We had pizza and talked celebrated birthdays until everyone finally had to refuse finals rounds of everything.
Sunday morning after church I spent some time alone reading and drinking coffee before meeting up with a few friends for brunch. The place we went is not known for their attentive service, but I didn't mind so much considering I had not seen my friend HR in quite some time because she lives in Houston. She is hands-down one of the most naturally funny people I know. I think I speak for everyone else who was at the table that morning when I say we could just listen to her talk and tell stories about the middle and high school kids she works with for hours.
It is wonderful for me to consider that the company I keep does not become tiresome. I like that I'm at a place in my life where though everyone I know is working or in school or busy, people still enjoy and take advantage of the time that we do get to spend together. The experience is all the richer when it ceases to be an obligation to family or friends, and is met instead with a desire to talk and share and enjoy.
I know that this phase in life will not last forever; friends and family will age and marry, move and have kids and the opportunities for such time spent with my favorite people will become less frequent. I'm glad to savor it as long as it is willing to last.
"One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well."