Dinner for six makes for a memorable evening
It’s Friday morning. “Should we use the good china?” Orllyene asks. “Sure, let’s go whole hog, and we’d better make the dining room table larger,” I reply.
Yesterday, I invited John and Kim to dinner. “We’d love to come. What time, and what can we bring?”
“Can you be here at around 5, and a bottle of wine would be nice,” I reply. John brings two bottles, one red and one white.
We’ll be having deep-fried cauliflower, garlic-buttered asparagus, brown rice, and chicken cacciatore. For dessert we’ll serve chocolate ice cream, swimming in maraschino cherry juice, sprinkled with crushed walnuts.
J.P. and Marilyn are also available. Great! Marilyn says she would be happy to make a salad. When they arrive, Orllyene is given a nice house plant, and just before J.P. gives her a hug, he slips me a bottle of wine. Marilyn goes quietly to the kitchen, with a wheelbarrow size load of salad ingredients. The salad bowl is the size of Oahu.
Regardless of what your definition of middle-age is, Marilyn is definitely on the younger side. She has the vitality of a teenager. Over dinner, she lets it slip that she lived for two years in Gardnerville.
“One day, a neighbor came over and was concerned that something was terribly wrong. The light in the bathroom had been on all night. Right then and there, I knew I had to move back to Smith Valley, where I was born.”
J.P. has been a rancher, a highway builder, and drives a truck once in a while. J.P is of Basque heritage, and knows all about raising sheep.
“It’s lambing time over at the Fulstone place,” he says. To keep us on the edge of our seats, he recalls when two dogs got it into their heads to kill 20 sheep. “The dogs would wait outside the gate, and when a sheep came out, they’d grab it around the throat, and kill it, just for sport. If you put only one of the dogs down, the other will go find another dog, and they’ll keep on doing the same thing over and over,” he says.
Kim and John bought the Zippwald house up on the corner. “Darlene put new shelf paper in just before they moved out,” Kim says incredulously. John joins in. “When we did the walk-through of the house, I said take a good look at this place now. It’s never going to be this clean again.”
John and Kim are still part of the workforce. They come over the mountain from California whenever they can. John is in financial affairs at a university in California. If I were casting a play, and it called for a tycoon, John would get the part without even having to audition. Charisma is his middle name.
Kim, is a very attractive, blond. With my feet in show business, I’m easily swayed by eye-catching ladies.
“I hear you teach math, Kim,” I say, attempting to sound like Walter Cronkite. She patiently gives us all an insight into her work, which is considerably involved.
“I’ve taught for both a Jewish school, and Catholic private schools. I have great respect for Judaism, and that way of life. Right now I’m teaching at a Catholic school in Atherton.”
Listening to Kim, it’s obvious she’s very intelligent. Minutes later, she casually mentions she has a doctorate in mathematics. Whoa! I’ll bet her IQ is about the same as Orllyene and mine put together.
All during dinner, the conversation crackles with good stories. John confesses his penchant for getting speeding tickets. He says he’s quite well known in traffic school circles in California. Marilyn clears the air about her life growing up on a ranch.
“Did you always have your own horse?” I ask, expecting a resounding yes for an answer.
“Nope, I wasn’t interested in horses. I just loved playing with my Barbies,” she says.
We all talk about our kids whom are all grown up. Orllyene gets to brag about our newest great-granddaughter, Rose, who will be born in May. Kim’s son is marrying later this year, and Kim is somewhat in a dither about what to wear. The one thing that brings us together, is our love of Smith Valley.
As the party breaks up, I notice it’s 10 o’clock. Whew! Everyone starts clearing the table. “Let me help with the dishes. If it’s too late, I’ll come over in the morning,” Marilyn says, very seriously. Orllyene and I decide the dishes will spend the night in the sink.
This is the way life should be lived. Good friends, good food, and time to enjoy both. Time to wind the cat, and put the clock out.
Ron Walker lives in Smith Valley. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.