The Art of Visiting
This week I visited. I took the time.
My children came Thursday night for dinner and a bit of family celebrating. I cooked a chicken and kale recipe with almonds and pistachios on top.
Friends came for dinner on Friday Night. We had a bonfire in the yard. I made a chicken tagine with olives and capers and served it with pasta. For dessert I made a rustic apple pie. The kind with just one crust that you fold up over the sides. We shared some wine and talked all night.
I got lunch with my friend one day. We went to Art of Eating Deli. We both ordered the same thing. Fran had made a salad with chicken carmelized onion and baked goat cheese. I asked her to put it on the menu, In Fran style she just ignored me. It was too good I did not even put the dressing on it.
And one night last week my girlfriends got together as two of them were celebrating birthdays in November. One of the birthday women made a risotto while we watched her in her lovely kitchen and pan fried scallops to go on top. She had carrot cake for dessert. I had a second sliver. So good.
I even fed the man who delivered a parcel to us this week from Halifax. He had gone out of his way to drop something off for us from a small city business and I appreciated that. We had leftovers so he sat and ate. And we heard his story.
Visiting is an art form I think. It takes time. It takes love and preparation. And yes it can be better when it is imbued with style, but honestly, it does not take much to have a good visit. You can give someone a cup of tea and a slice of toast and it can be good enough. Food can be marvellous or it can be simple. You can set the table or it can be a bowl of soup on the couch with the ball game on.
I think that often though, an important part of a good visit is listening. Hearing another persons story is often so enlightening. Often after I do, I carry it around with me for a while. The persons story resonates with me for days after a visit when I really listen to them. It enlightens me and widens my perspective. I learn from being with others and hearing their story. Somehow it makes me feel more engaged with my own life. I like to hear the story they have to tell.
Visiting takes time and it takes effort. Hospitality is an important part of life. Being greeted and having someone share their home with you is a gift. I like being invited in, being part of another life for an hour or two. It is something very special. When someone invites you to their home they reveal something about themselves to you. So this week I really took the time. The time to be a guest and the time to be a host and I found that it was worth it.
There were stories around tables. Tea was poured. There was laughter and foolishness. And sometimes there was silence and that was okay too. We visited and that was good. Good enough.
- Deanne Fitzpatrick