The Composer and the children and I had been planning for this weekend for months. The Composer's father, my beloved father-in-law, turned seventy. We decided we were going to do it up right.
The Composer rented a lodge in the mountains. He sent out invitations to *all* his dad's relatives, around fifty. We planned a menu. We sent out maps. We rented tablecloths and coffeecups. Most especially, the Composer put together an unbelievable film about his father's life. Heartbreaking music, beautiful photographs, interviews with contemporaries and grandchildren, archives from his university, everything.
His dad didn't know anything was coming. Every year we like to have a special birthday dinner for him here at our house. This year, we suggested meeting up in the mountains for a hike first, then going over to their cabin where I would prepare supper. He completely bought it. Even when we led him in the front door of the lodge where his family from all over the country waited, he still thought we were at a visitor's center at a trailhead!
My blessed mother and her husband came up with the kids and me the night before, and got up first thing and started in to work with me. She cooked without stopping from 8 in the morning until about 4. We set the tables--for 44 people.
My friend Carol had made the cake and delivered it to our house the night before--beautiful! Layers and layers of maple butter cake, iced in maple buttercream and sprinkled with chopped pecans.
She and her daughter arrived late in the afternoon to help serve and run the kitchen. Bless them too!
•mushrooms stuffed with cream cheese, garlic, and spinach
•mixed greens salad with toasted walnuts, pomegranate seeds, and red pear slices
•French bread and butter
•slow-roasted pork loin in wine and citrus
•Greek potato salad vinaigrette
•sauteed yellow squash and zucchini
•maple cake and vanilla ice cream
We served everyone plated courses at their seats. That was a lot of plates! Clara and Bella and their cousins helped pass cake and fill drinks as well. The mountains outside grew dark; inside was candlelight on dear faces.
After cake was served and everyone had another cup of coffee, we pulled down the huge projection screen (this was the perfect lodge for our purposes!) and the Composer showed his movie. No words to describe it.