February 12, 2009

dinner at eight for eight

So, Annabelle tagged me to have an imaginary dinner for eight - who would I invite (alive or dead) and why. As a young reader my mother always tried to get me to read a book she loved as a child, "Van Loon's Lives". I never really read the book as the binding was breaking and crumbling, but I did love to touch the vivid illustrations in it. Even now, it sits before me and I think of my mother holding this book. The book is a series of stories in which Van Loon invites historical characters for dinner.

But...that sounds so stuffy - all the history and everyone just sitting and discussing what happened then, the effects it had now and so on. I mean - I would be tempted to invite people from history that always intrigued me - - Buddha, Mary Magdelene, Da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, Emily Dickenson, Henry David Thoreau, Mozart. But...*yawn* all but Mozart might would bring the party down, no?

A dinner party is that ever so delicate balance of the right people, the right setting, and the right food. I mean you can have fantastic food but if the right people aren't there - it's a failure. But, I guess you could have awful food with the right people and you make a go of it. So...wow. This is hard.

And no, I won't whimp out and say - I would love to be surrounded by friends and family. Why waste this space time ripple opportunity, right? And I can't do the third genie wish and wish for more parties either.

1. Katherine Hepburn - she was a dame and I bet a hoot when she was in her heyday. No nonsense but funny too. I imagine she would keep this next guy in line.
2. Henry VIII - I have been totally intrigued with this guy since I first read anything about him. The man that would change a country for the love of a woman. Or the love of his...well, his amorous parts. And if I could specify an age, it would be as he first met Anne Boylen, while he appeared to still have some idealism.
3. Da Vinci - I wanna know, was he really as smart and time forward as he is depicted and if so, how did he think of all of it? I think Dan Brown is full of bunk about him. Let's set the record straight, hmmm?
4. Bono - He's probably full of himself and all that, but I think he's a guy that walks the talk. I also love the fact he's been with his wife forever so he must believe in love. Plus, I always wanted to meet him. Hey, it's my party!
5. Mary Magdalene - a woman lost to the mysteries of time. Was she a story? Was she real? What was her read of the times. She, Martha and Mary were key figures in the life of Jesus. What happened in those years between his death and the stories handed down to us.
6. Ralph Waldo Emerson (or Henry David Thoreau) - I'm having problems with this space. I love their philosophies so much I waiver back and forth. Wait - Thoreau...definitely Thoreau. But then I think he would be appalled at a lavish dinner with his love of simplicity. See why I suck at planning parties? But I would love to tell him what impact Walden had on me.
7. Amelia Earheart - Ok, I admit it. I want to know the truth of what happened that last flight. Plus, she was an adventurer. That is way cool. She was the first female hero that I had. I clearly remember reading her biography in grade school.
8. My Mom - yes, sappy I know. But not just because I want to see her (and daddy too) again but because of the book. She would be so very thrilled to experience her own Van Loon dinner party and would bubble over with her charm. She would be the glue to bind the party together.

Of course I would fret and worry about what to serve for dinner - would it need to be kosher for Mary or who has food allergies. And, what is impressive to some of the world's greatest people. Would Henry know how to use the utensils or would he wave a turkey leg around? These are the things you have to think about. And wine? Dessert? I mean, I can't serve these people my shrimp and grits and hope for the best right?

And then think of all the people that would be insulted because they were not invited. The pressure. Can I have a cocktail party instead?


  1. Fun to think about. Bono would probably complain if the food wasn't raised under strict organic practices by Palestinian goatheards, but he'd have plenty to say. I would put Earhart on my list, too! The only trouble with inviting Dickenson is that she would pick at her food like a bird. =0)

  2. Cool list! Since I am a horrible cook, I'd have to invite only people that don't mind take out!

  3. Only because I can't help being a movie pusher, but when I saw the title of this post, I got all excited because I thought you were writing about one of my favorite films, Dinner at Eight.

    So even though I think your list is very well done (I'll sit next to Amelia, thanks!) please tell me that you'll watch Dinner at Eight for me. Jean Harlow is more of a dame in this film than Kate would be tenfold (see how excited I get?).

    Enjoy your film and your dinner!

  4. Henry VIII definitely.

    I've had a crush on him for a LONG time!

  5. Gabby: *laugh* you are so right about Bono. I heard that about Emily.

    Jenny: I would probably be so nervous that I wouldn't be able to cook anyway.

    Julie: I've seen that movie and loved it. And yes, Harlow definitely was a dame. Ok, Amelia and sit between us.

    Karen Beth: I know - something about him being so bad....

  6. Wow. To be a fly on the wall at that dinner party...wow. The conversations you'd have - Crazy!

  7. What a great list! Sounds like a wonderful get together!

  8. oh this is just way too hard!!! but you are such a thoughtful person. i wish it was really going to happen for ya!

  9. Awesome list. I would have to agree with the mom thing. I wonder if Bono might actually be pretty down to earth?

  10. This was so colorful and imaginative...full of life and clearly you've given it much thought. I rarely use this word but it was just...delightful! It made me wonder...is this knowledge of how to plan a dinner party a product of a city girl or a southern girl? Both maybe?

    I'd love to know what happened to Amelia. I did a 150 page report on her once...you'd be amazed what you can find on her in the government files now that we have The Freedom of Information Act. Some very fishy things...spies and such. And my grandmother and her friends always swore that she lived just down the road in Concordia (retirement community in Cranbury, New Jersey) under an assumed name.

    And of course it made me smile warmly to think of your mother coming to this dinner party that was always so close to her heart. : )

  11. wow that would be some party. very eclectic

  12. The curious thing about Amelia Earheart is this: How much was she and adventurer and how much was she a fictional promotion created by her hubby?

  13. What great fun! Katharine Hepburn has always been a favorite of mine, too. My mother actually met her once, when she was visiting a private home in NJ where my mother worked.

    I know this sounds old fogey-ish (it is too a word!) but while watching the Guns of Navaronne last night, I was marveling at Gregory Peck and David Niven, and wondering if they have any modern day counterparts. I just could not think of any modern actors with the same...I don't know.. style? elan?

  14. Oooh wow wow! I love love love your guest list! Thanks so much for doing it, you have some really interesting guests there. I'd love to see Katherine give Henry a big serve about being a womaniser - wouldn't that be the best! Mary Magdalene is a very interesting one too! You put much thought into it - awesome :-)

  15. ...I love the thought of meeting Amelia Earhart to hear the rest of the story! Sounds like a wonderful dinner party to me!

  16. Great list and I would invite them all except maybe Bono. I agree Hepburn would hand Henry his lunch. but then Henry would become intrigued and pursue Hepburn. Ralph Waldo Emerson is a good choice although he would be back up to my Robert Frost.

    Of course what would you server for dinner. You have to find a balance between Turkey legs and grog and finger sandwiches! :-)


i feel as if each comment was between us as we sat and sipped something warm....i love to hear what you're thinking.