Tony’s son Chris joined the group too – he was eager and had a hearty appetite.
“C’mon Dad, let’s go and see what the fare is!” he exclaimed. I was glad to see him take his father’s arm to lead the way, up and down the rows, checking out the choices. I personally was looking forward to enjoying one of the most popular specialties there, a large assortment of sushi.
Tony was a “meat ‘n potatoes” man though surprisingly, he seemed to have some interest in the sushi; still eyeing it all from afar. He watched his son deftly using chopsticks, the dexterity astonished him! “None of that stuff for me,” Tony shook his head.
The invariable weather held pleasant for the drive home. “I’m really glad we went” he said, “It was nice to see everyone.”
Houseguests came more infrequently now, mostly due to proximity. After long periods of not seeing Tony though, his family tried unsuccessfully to hide their dismay. Specific prescriptions slowed the inevitable descent – their thought was that Dad is still safe at home.
They knew that I doted on him and provided invaluable care for their father.
In earlier years, we entertained lavishly at home, with gay gatherings at Christmas in particular. Raclette parties were a favorite event and, reminiscent of fondue suppers, guests spent several hours around the table cooking, conversing, resting for a few moments, then back to the festivities! On occasion there had been as many as seven or eight other couples gathered!
The theory of unconditional love was an actuality for me by that time. I was sometimes wistful though – remembering when I anticipated whipping up a gala dinner party. Chattering happy guests mingled and sometimes drifted into the kitchen – wine flowing and glasses clinking!
The china cabinet displayed the glassware and silver, pretty collections and different styles. I wondered sometimes why I even kept it all; except maybe there would be a future time when I would feel more carefree again.
Among my prized possessions was a special cherished gift – from my cousin. Many years before we had both been keen cooks and interested in international cuisine; Japanese intricacies included. The gift was a set of ebony chopsticks with fine points, authentic and beautiful.
Over time, I accumulated a collection of service dishes, wooden paddles, and tiny bowls for dipping sauces, several trays and a significant assortment of menu ideas. Awhile before, I’d first become interested after reading a magazine article featuring recipes and instructions by Margaret Sinclair Trudeau when she lived in Ottawa.
Despite the preparation time and garnish details, presentations to guests evoked oohs and aahs! Maybe a Japanese theme dinner at the next Condo Chicks gathering. It would take some long-range planning and my skills felt rusty, but what fun it would be!
I’d taken a series of sushi-making courses – three nights of instruction with gratifying results. Everyone there had been inspired to add their own efforts to the next festive occasion, perhaps as a hostess gift for a cocktail party. Sushi to go, I would try too!
A proverbial carrot dangling in front of my nose was always an incentive for me to move forward with enthusiasm. An upcoming medical appointment would determine whether Tony would be able to spend a weekend away with his son in the spring. I’d be keeping my fingers crossed, hoping as I always did that they would have one last excursion together.
That night I dreamed of a Condo-Chicks supper together when glasses would be tinkling, music on the stereo, scintillating conversation and, when the night came to an end, sushi to go.