A Weeknight Dinner Party Lifts My Spirits

July 30, 2016

A Weeknight Dinner Party Lifts My Spirits


My Dad has been in the hospital for the whole month of July.

My Dad is going to get better and get up and walk out of that hospital.

His ordeal began on July1 in the Bahamas with two disastrous days in the hospital there, followed by 2 1/2 weeks in Florida after arriving there via air ambulance (accompanied by my Aunt-Mom). Finally, he is in an ICU here in the Southeast Texas town where we all live.

People have been amazing during this time.  The taxi driver from the Bahamas has called my Aunt-Mom to check on Dad.  Friends she made during the weeks in the waiting room in the Florida ICU are calling and texting her to keep tabs on him.  Dozens and dozens of cards have been sent.  Over 100 people are keeping up with my updates about Dad on Facebook.  Phone calls, texts, private messages and prayers from family and friends bolster his spirits and ours.  We’ve heard from folks from all parts of Dad’s life, from childhood to former colleagues to members of the churches he has attended over the years.  Two of Dad’s retired colleagues from his days with Motorola even left a sign in their yard after the air ambulance brought him back to Texas.  People are wonderful.

Welcome Home Sign.jpg

Simple Pleasures are a Blessing

As I visit my Dad in the hospital each day, I realize how much I take the simple things in life for granted.  Being able to walk around outside, look at the sky, take a deep breath of the hot July air, watch a squirrel bury nuts.  Drinking a long, cool glass of water, munching on peanuts.  Washing a fresh tomato and then slicing into it, watching its bright red juices run out onto the cutting board.  Leaning deeply into a hug and squeezing the other person for just a few seconds longer.  Going to a friend’s house for a home-cooked meal.  Dad can’t do any of things right now.  But he will again.  He will.  I know he will.

The Weeknight Dinner Party

Close friends who live near us decided we needed some TLC and asked us over for dinner at their house, on a Wednesday night.  I can’t remember the last time I’ve been to someone’s house for an actual sit-down dinner, much less on a weeknight!  Parties, yes, lots of them, holiday meals, yes, but a real dinner, just a dinner, with a dessert and everything – it’s been a while.  There’s work, and business travel, and chores and pets and the getting the last kid ready for college…everyone has their version of this too-busy life and entertaining is a luxury not many folks have time for.

When we arrived, the Grill-Meister and I were greeted with extra-long, extra-tight hugs, a glass of wine or champagne, and the merry assertion that the even the dogs had been bathed in preparation for our visit.  (I think it was true, too – those dogs smelled good.  Not at all like my dogs.)  There was a marvelous home-cooking aroma in the air as we entered the kitchen.

We ate family-style in the breakfast nook overlooking the back yard, and the meal was a comfort-food delight: oven-roasted pork tenderloin, potato wedges and Caesar salad, with warm yeast rolls.  So yummy!  And there was a nice California Pinot Noir, too.


Our hostess downplays her cooking skills and claimed she had never before attempted a pork tenderloin, but I’m not sure I believe her, because it was cooked just right. (It is so easy to overcook a tenderloin.)  Apparently it was a team effort; she said she couldn’t make herself use the meat thermometer, so her hubby stepped in and made sure the pork was removed when got just the right temp reading.  And her potato wedges were also perfectly cooked with just the right amount of seasoning, which turned out to be a secret ingredient.  Ranch dressing mix.  Really.  I found the recipe online and have included it below.

For a couple of hours, the four of us ate and drank and laughed and talked, lingering over our dinner.

We told stories, dreamed big dreams for the future, bragged about our kids (of course!) and talked about my Dad getting better.

The meal ended with a moist and luscious lemon pound cake with a cream cheese frosting that came from a local boutique bakery.  I shouldn’t have eaten it, but I did.  And I’m not sorry.


It was a wonderful, restorative, satisfying evening.  I’m looking forward to my Dad being able to enjoy a meal like this soon.

Ranch Roasted Potatoes

Click here for a link to the Original Ranch Roasted Potatoes recipe from Hidden Valley.  They were super-good.

Photo from Hidden Valley recipe site




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