Saturday, November 22, 2008
All together now: another Gwynn's Island sunset. I could snap a million and they'd each be different.
Isn’t it amazing how a taste or a word or a song or a smell can instantly catapult you backwards in time?
The other day I had lunch with a lifelong friend, and afterwards they gave us a mint. This was not your typical after-dinner chocolate mint, or the standard-issue, spiral-striped peppermint or spearmint hard candy. No, this was one of those mints that crumbles in your mouth, the mints that are pastel yellow, pink, blue or green. Remember those?
These mints used to be a mandatory offering at wedding receptions around here. Once upon a time, wedding receptions didn’t require professional planners; they weren’t held in fancy hotels; they did not inspire shows called Bridezillas; they did not cost $10,000 and there most certainly was no sit-down dinner.
Rather, the earliest wedding receptions I attended were held in the church social hall. Everyone gathered to talk and mingle--and, of course, eat. There was a punch bowl full of a red concoction that may have included sherbet or an ice ring. The buffet table consisted of a bowl of mints, a bowl of peanuts, platters of deviled eggs and mountains of ham biscuits. Cake and cookies. The End.
The reception did not last long, perhaps an hour, and then everyone went home. No dancing, no music, no live band, no horse-drawn carriage, no slide show of the newlyweds, just a very simple service followed by a very simple reception.
Speaking of simple, so were the presents. There were no fancy department stores to register with, we had one or two tiny shops that took care of all our gift-giving needs. A wooden napkin holder, some tea towels (anyone still call them tea towels?), or some other practical item might find their way in the gift pile. I do not recall anyone ever giving money, which seems commonplace today.
I truly miss those simpler, less complicated times, where the emphasis was on the ceremony or the event and not on the “stuff.”
I am reminded of this sentiment just as we head into the Christmas season, which is coming our way whether we want it to or not next week. Shopping becomes a contact sport that requires shoulder pads, cleats and a helmet. I'm considering installing a cow catcher on the front of my car so I can plow my way through the pedestrians clogging the parking lots. Not really. I don't think.
Bring back the days where mints and peanuts in a bowl on a buffet table defined a special occasion and a good, salty, country-ham biscuit was the main course.
I guarantee I'll be the first one in line, and the last to leave.