Setting the Table: Apple Blossoms and Chocolate

Metal sculpture by Garth Edwards

Eeek! Three days before Thanksgiving–my favorite holiday in the world for entertaining and putting on a big  grand dinner party for friends and family–the power goes out. Not just a blip, not for a few hours. The electricity vanished, gone, kaput for almost 48 hours. The old stone house shivered as the temperatures outside plummeted…even the heavy dark velvet drapes we put up over the west-facing windows a few years ago (to keep out the summer heat!) could not capture and share any warmth. Cold hurts and it bites and it’s the oddest feeling to be “inside” and feel as though you’re “outside.”

A few gas burners on the range kept the kitchen warm, a chandelier with candles gave us light in the the wintery darkness. But Thanksgiving dinner? It had to be postponed, but not forgotten. A day after the Big Day, (two days after the power came on), Thanksgiving Dinner was on.

Rumor has it that a traveling monk built the big dark dining room table that has sat here in the the dining room since 1905. It’s wide and thick and massive and not for the soft spoken or the shy. You’ve got to basically yell your stories out and share your toasts loudly to be part of the fun.  It’s the Turkey Day (and every other day) Gathering Spot– a giant canvas, a constant inspiration for a special time of gathering loved ones all together.

This year, the storm, with its ferocious winds and fury, set the theme. How could we resist collecting bundles of giant sappy sweet smelling pine cones knocked to the ground by the fury of Mother N?

We piled them high, added a fallen and twisty, mossy Japanese Maple branch, invited a few of the original art pieces by island artists to join in and then of course, somehow, big pouty deep red roses had to make an appearance in front of each guest’s plate. (Oh, and there was a milk chocolate turkey from our local and fabulous candy/fudge maker “Bon Bon” on each plate–vintage Franciscan Apple Blossom pattern from the San Francisco side of the family.)

Shout outs to artists we love: Garth Edwards, steel sculpturist–his Chatty Man sits in the middle of the table, chatting. Susan Croy Roth’s miniature pastel of a Autumn Japanese Maple. Jennifer Phillips‘ teeny tiny oil of a Fall Tree. Jeweler extraordinaire Jane Martin’s wee beautifully crafted metal birdhouse. A found “paint by the numbers’ winterscape. Vintage sake cups from Langley, Whidbey Island hold dark blooms.

We are so thankful for beauty, design, nature, friends, family, electricity, home.

Chandelier by Swedish glass artist Erik Hoglund (1932-1998)

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