You never know the footprint you are leaving, but once in a while, you are so fortunate to learn.
Laurel posted and tagged me to a photo of herself and the caption that “The Nostalgic Fest” was now being featured at the Old Courthouse Museum on October 5. To my surprise, my friend, Marlena, from 20 years ago, commented on the post to inform me that she bought the Nostalgic Feast book at her favorite cooking supplies store, Plums Cooking Company, where Laurel teaches and shares recipes from the book.
In Washington DC twenty years ago, Marlena, my housemates, and friends of friends would create feasts where all were invited to celebrate life with the hope of meeting our future spouse. Many would flock, and the parties would be large, over 100 stuffed in a small house like a sardine box enjoying canapes and conversations, to smaller affairs over a 5-course meal all homemade with candles and flowers to accentuate the moment. Every feast had its personality matching the moment to celebrate, from surprise birthday parties, to summer BBQs in the park, to commemorating St. Cecilia with a variety show featuring poem readings, sketches, and music concerts.
One of our many favorites was the Christmas party we held at our townhome in Virginia with the homemade cookies by Carmen, Lam’s Spring Rolls, and hot toddy with our friend Sam playing on the piano with all the guests gathering around to sing Christmas carols. This feast, in particular, took me back to an old English novel where the whole community sits in a pub around the piano with beer and laughter flowing, where everyone is stomping their feet, enjoying the moment we all wanted to last forever.
We would find any excuse to create celebrations to commemorate birthdays, engagements, Thanksgiving, Easter, new job positions, and promotions to create moments to meet.
Twenty years later, we all spread across the country, some to start a family, leave for a new job, seminary, mission, to get a Masters’s degree, and a few unfortunately passed away of cancer. Life happens.
And twenty years later, the footprint of our youth was etched in our hearts. I was touched by Marlena when she posted that when she saw The Nostalgic Feast, it reminded her of me and our Feasts.
The purpose of st. john’s press to create those moments by bringing to life great thoughts and tales to inspire and inform our readers to continually work to be better Mensch*, ourselves, our family, friends, and community. And with Marlena recalling the memories of our youth from buying the Nostalgi Feast, well then, we are serving our mission.
We might have less this Christmas season to spend on luxury items, but we have each other. May this season you light a candle and celebrate with each other. Remember, “the best things in life are free: