Wednesday, June 20, 2012

June 20: A Very Good Dinner, Dessert Upon the Table, Donald Hall

"Indeed, I think he loses a very good dinner," interrupted Scrooge's niece.  Everybody else said the same, and they must be allowed to have been competent judges, because they had just had dinner; and, with the dessert upon the table, were clustered round the fire, by lamplight.

One of the more joyful scenes in A Christmas Carol occurs at Scrooge's nephew's house.  It is Fred's annual Christmas dinner party, and the crowd of gathered friends knows how to have a good time.  They eat, dance, play games.  And, at least in the Ghost of Christmas Present stave, they discuss Scrooge and his annual refusal to attend the party.  Scrooge's niece is a little incredulous in the above passage, for Fred has just made the comment,"What's the consequence!  He don't lose much of a dinner--"  Even in phantom form, Scrooge manages to have a hell of a good time at Fred's little holiday soiree.

The celebration dinner for Donald Hall last night was amazingly good.  I'm not much for mingling and small talk, but there were plenty of good friends and acquaintances present to make the talking small almost painless.  Donald Hall, who is, from what I heard, around 85 years old, was gracious and funny.  A true gentleman in every sense of the word.  The food was spectacular.  My chicken cordon bleu was not frozen and reheated.  It was fresh and delicious.  And the chocolate truffle that capped off the meal was just one step away from orgasmic.  (Judging by the facial expressions of the other people at my table, it might have actually been orgasmic.)  I know how Scrooge felt at Fred's party, enjoying the food and drinks and desserts and conversation.  It was a hell of a good time.

Then there was Donald Hall being, well, Donald Hall.  He talked about his past times in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  He talked about his son, who attended the university here.  He talked about his son's college girlfriend.  He talked about being a writer for sixty plus years.  And then he read a poem.

Basically, it was the definition of a perfect evening.

Saint Marty was happier than a hog in a mudslide.

Donald Hall and Saint Marty

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