One evening last week I got to thinking about the inauguration and how I'd be working at home alone with no one but Twitter to share the happy moment. Woe is me. So I impulsively invited bunches of people over for dinner and a re-watch of the ceremony.
People responded and it was all quite exciting. I knew Puppy wouldn't remember watching the ceremony but he just might remember a party a tiny bit. We decided it fit in well with Operation Get Our (Local White) Friends to Acknowledge Race* we've got going on. To be as obnoxious as possible we made ribs and biscuits and greens and beans and macaroni and sweet potato pie and pandowdy. The night's mission: be introduced to collard greens and watch a biracial man assume the highest office in the the land. Discuss!
It was all going swimmingly until T mentioned--as we were setting the table--that he told his principal about the party and that she might stop by. Oh, dear. Throwing together dinner for your friends on a weekday evening is one thing. Cooking for your boss is quite another.
For this story to make sense, you also need to know that T's boss is African-American and has had a lot to say about our transracial adoption. And now she was coming to eat soul food made by little white me.
Just when I had talked myself into the fact that she's a huge fan of T and it would all be fine, she called to say she was on her way and she was bringing along the pastor of the black church we've been visiting. This is a man who has someone standing by to hand him a towel and water when he preaches and all we had were the sad leftovers of a buffet to offer up. Not really how I would have wanted our first sit-down with him to go.
It was the very tail end of the party when they arrived and most everyone else had left, so we sat down to chat with the two of them while they ate. They are hugely influential people in the church community we've been getting to know, not to mention in T's professional life, so I was already all kinds of self-conscious. (When I can't do my fretting well in advance, it just all comes out in one big burst of nervousness.) Then the pastor squinted appraising-ly at Firefly, who was rocking quite the head of post-nap fuzz. He turned to me and said, "Why isn't that girl's hair in ponytails yet?" As we stammered some sort of answer, he moved on to quizzing me about how we're conditioning it. And I just wanted to crawl under the table and hide.
Then T's boss went into our messy post-party kitchen and started doing the dishes and my head exploded.
But she did compliment my greens and ask me where in the world I learned to cook this kind of food so well (thank you, women at our old church!).
And the rest of the party was just what I wanted. We watched the inauguration and hugged our kids and smiled some teary smiles. And I went to bed for the first time in a whole lot of years feeling like I mostly trusted the people in power.
So, all in all, it was a good evening.
* Our friends are wonderful people. It's just that pretending to be "color-blind" is the most popular approach to race where we currently live.