Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Life Changes

There was a time in my life when I entertained a lot. I enjoyed having lots of people come to my home for dinner or other gatherings. I had friends and family who knew my kitchen well enough to locate the right serving spoon or plate and serving piece. I could host 17 for Thanksgiving dinner without batting an eye. And if the plumbing backed up (as it did often in one house) I wasn’t fazed. I loved cooking, coordinating meals for a number of people. I could prepare a meal and everything was ready to serve at the same time.

I had dishes to serve 20 on good plates, stemware in crystal and glass to feed more than that. And I loved having these things and entertaining large family gatherings, church get-togethers, formal dinners.

Nearly three years ago, when we decided to become full-time RVers, I put all those dishes and stemware in storage. And this week we sold or gave away all of that. Now I have four plastic wine glasses and four good plastic dinner plates. If I want to feed more than that, I use paper plates and disposable glasses. And I like that. I am at the stage of life that I am out of practice preparing large meals, coordinating all the various parts of dinner, cooking large quantities. It is probably a function of both age and our lifestyle today. But this is the life I live today and I am very comfortable in it.

During junior high or high school I memorized the following passage from Shakespeare. I think it is important to move from one stage of life to the next without regrets. We should not try to be who we are not.

William Shakespeare - All the world's a stage (from As You Like It )

All the world's a stage,

And all the men and women merely players:

They have their exits and their entrances;

And one man in his time plays many parts,

His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,

Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms.

And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel

And shining morning face, creeping like snail

Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,

Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad

Made to his mistress' eyebrow. Then a soldier,

Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,

Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,

Seeking the bubble reputation

Even in the cannon's mouth. And then the justice,

In fair round belly with good capon lined,

With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,

Full of wise saws and modern instances;

And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts

Into the lean and slipper'd pantaloon,

With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,

His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide

For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,

Turning again toward childish treble, pipes

And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,

That ends this strange eventful history,

Is second childishness and mere oblivion,

Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

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