Savor the Seasons

I went to a GNO last night—a girls night out, for all of you guys out there. It’s a once a year event called Savor the Seasons at my daughter’s church, Eastridge on the Sammamish Plateau.  For my daughter, a widow and a single mom, Savor the Seasons is her one big night out for the year. It’s also a loving gift she shares with her mother and with several good friends.

For the evening—or rather for two evenings in a row—the pews in the sanctuary disappear, replaced by 69 tables of eight. Each table is decorated to the nth-degree complete with thematic centerpieces, good family china, chargers, glassware, linens, and napkins.  Every table is a sparkling creation designed by one or more women from the church.  The tables are set for Monday’s event, then cleared away afterwards, washed, and reset for the second night. It is an enormous undertaking.

For those two nights, the total attendance is around 1300.  Dinner is a buffet chosen from recipes submitted to a committee and then cooked by more women from the church with men from the church working the tables; serving coffee and water; running the sound system and lights; and working in the kitchen.

Savor the Seasons is a celebration that takes place on the edge of the stressful cliff that constitutes the holiday season—Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years, all in a row.  The dinner is a time and a place for a few deep breaths before taking the holiday plunge.

It’s a church so after the meal—delicious by the way—there’s a sermon from the “pastor’s wife.”  Having gone for several years, I think of Cheryl Jamison more as a straight out pastor than a pastor’s wife, but maybe that’s just me.

I’ve been attending Savor the Seasons for several years now.  The first time I went, I was still deep in a severe case of I-don’t-need-hearing-aids denial.  So that first year, I sat through the sermon and missed the whole thing.  Now that I can hear Cheryl’s talks, I can tell you they’re consistently on the money.

A couple of years ago, everyone was given a little trinket bracelet made up of what looked like keys from an old fashioned Underwood typewriter—you know, the kind I actually learned to type on.  The talk that time around was all about finding your backspace when things get too stressful.  Years later, when I’m doing my passable imitation of Evie Busk’s tight-lipped disdain, my daughter will whisper a coded message to me:  Backspace.  And you know what?  It helps.  Backspace—it’s permission for a tiny do over and some breathing space.

The inspiration for this year’s dinner was Breakfast at Tiffany’s.  In preparation for her sermon, Cheryl decided to review the movie and was shocked by what she found there.   What she remembered as being a sweet romantic comedy turned out to be something quite a bit more problematic.  (I think I’d have the same kind of reaction to seeing Gigi in this day and age.) Still, in keeping with the theme, this year’s trinket was a bracelet made of fake pearls while the sermon was about real pearls.  

A pearl starts out as an uncomfortable grain of sand caught up in an oyster’s gut.  In an attempt to fix the pain, the oyster covers the pearl with a kind of internal chemistry that eventually turns into a pearl inside the oyster and into mother of pearl on the inside of the oyster’s shell.  With pearls something difficult or painful is transformed into a thing of beauty.  Diamonds are hard and can be cut and shaped.  Pearls are the way they are when they emerge from the oyster.  Any attempt to shape them turns them to dust.

After last night, my daughter and I will have another addition to our code word arsenal.  Pearls will now join “with eyebrows” and “backspace” as part of our underground mother/daughter conversations.
With the holidays coming, you never can tell when one of those code words will come in handy.

9 thoughts on “Savor the Seasons

  1. What a great idea. It sounds like a lot of fun and a learning experience, too.

    When I was working I always wore a string of pearls. I called them “the dog pearls” because I got them for 50 cents plus labels from Purina Dog Chow. They are all the same size and clasp has a pearl centered in a ring of gold.

    Tis the season for leftse and lutefisk. That is reason enough to savor the season.

  2. With the deep vertical creases between my eyebrows, I could have used both of those code phrases……..a long time ago.
    It sounds like a marvelous time for both of you.

  3. Thanks for sharing. I relate and will try to remember ‘backspace’ and ‘pearl’ as the cliff gets closer.
    Enjoy the holidays.

  4. Marvelous. My daughter’s church has a dessert event that sounds similar. Each table is hosted with themes reflected in place settings, centerpieces, etc. Men are servers. I, too, had the hearing issue as the pastor’s wife and others spoke. The ladies also have a brunch around Mother’s Day. God bless the men. Last time so many seemed to be sons and gransons! My daughter’s table had her 4 daughters plus guests. My cup runneth over. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

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