Friday, June 21, 2019

Dinner in the Village

When we headed homeward this evening around ten o'clock after dinner in the village at the country seat of my erstwhile physician the sky was still remarkably bright. Today is the Summer Solstice, the putative cause for our midsummer assembly. The day proved to be ideal for al fresco appetizers on the deck where we first lounged within wafting distance of the barbecue. I am sated from the scrumptious meal - including pointedly the traditional fresh fruit, cream and meringue for dessert.  Our host proffered as well a witty book by Julian Clary, "Briefs Encountered" - a relic I believe from one of his many international travels.

Of the seven people at table this evening I have known our host the longest. Our relationship is not the most intimate but it abounds with discernible history. Specifically he had the courtesy to endure my hallmark pleasantries, all of which I regret to say (as he himself significantly afterwards remarked) had been repeated by me on numerous occasions in the past. We did however all engage in some illuminating discussion - provoked as usual by the introduction of politics into the vernacular. At times the polemics threatened to elevate our voices beyond mere table chat. The dessert wine helped soothe the distemper.

We never know we go - when we are going;
We jest and shut the door.
Fate following behind us bolts it
And we accost no more.

Emily Dickinson

The mosquitoes and the temperature of the swimming pool in the meadow were not the only Arcadian features to punctuate the celebration. Our host's black Labrador Finn traipsed amicably among us throughout the entire evening, sharing with us his distinctive smell from the Jock River in which he had unquestionably been active during the day. Though we were upon acres of land, the diminishing low light circled around us like a halo and confined us to a commensurate intimacy.

Very thoughtfully our host toasted the memory of my late mother.  This gave rise to an elucidation of my theory of orphanage which in turn translated into a discussion of my late father's wartime background.  Then a series of unsettling conclusions followed about the horrors of war and the threatening differences between people. We broadened the scope of conversation to the former British Empire and today's indigenous people (coincidentally being remembered today as a National Day).

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