I didn’t think we’d have company.  It looked like my friend who was flying out the following day would not be able to come by the house for a final dinner farewell.

I got into Sunday morning spring cleaning anyway.  With full days, I choose one cupboard at a time.  On this morning it was beneath the kitchen sink.  Pear-scented, eco dish soap and lavender counter top cleanser got organized with fresh sponges.  I wiped down surfaces with environmentally-friendly insect spray, its scent of peppermint, rosemary and clove, wafting up from under all the pipes.  With the botanicals clearly represented, I shut the cupboard door with a satisfaction in knowing there was order in a space that’s seldom seen.

And who cared if I wouldn’t have dinner guests.  My kitchen cabinets were getting clean.

By 3pm I get a call and the dinner party’s on.  Jeb and I will have company after all.  Too late to start the big pot of soup I had been planning, I get anxious on what to feed everyone on late notice.  What do I have time to make?  How many people are coming?  Will there be enough?

I’m able to laugh at my insecurities as a hostess but can’t quite shake the feeling.  I had called this gathering together and then was having second thoughts.  I make a quick run to the store in town and come home determined to stay relaxed and have fun.  Remember the reason for my initial invitation – to send a friend off with good wishes.

Jeb has made a sign to post on our front door.  As he double checks the spelling of the word welcome, I soak in the letters with fresh perspective.  Well come.  The simple statement of inviting well-being.

Just as the olive tapenade is finished, everyone arrives as if on cue.  Friends file through our doorway with full hands.  A huge bag of fresh cut basil.  A box of food – sushi rolls, a steak, gourmet popcorn, salmon, asparagus, mushrooms.  To think I was afraid there’d be no food!

We feast on raviolis with garden pesto, kale salad with curried beets, roasted vegetables and fish cooked on the grill.  For dessert it’s vanilla ice cream with olive oil and red-clay salt.  Chunks of dark chocolate with cherries and chilis.  We look at one another with affirming eyes and nods.  What a meal!

From nothing, came something…and more.

In the land of the luau I was reminded.

Welcome!

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