Entertainment Tip: Keepsake
Mary and Trish, in Keepsake, couldn't begin to think of entertaining. Trish has let her clutter balloon into a full-blown hoard, and in fact declined to join a book club with a friend because she would eventually have to host. Mary's home is so sterile and clean that she can barely tolerate the idea of letting her nephew inside, much less a bunch of people.
I’m somewhere in between Mary and Trish, as I assume most people are. My hosting is not even close to fancy. I'm more likely to be barefoot in the backyard handing out popsicles to little kids than folding cloth napkins into fan shapes or setting out place cards.
Come to think of it, my favorite kind of party resembles the summer picnics my grandmother always hosted in Charlevoix, Michigan (setting of my debut novel, Real Life & Liars). There would be two long tables laden with food, men gathered around the grill cooking the meat and the ears of corn (grilled right in the husk. You’d gingerly peel back the husk, use that as a sort of handle, then chow down). There would be plenty of beer, lemonade and iced tea. We’d be all outside in the yard, with game of lawn darts off in the distance.
If anyone spilled, no one cared, because it was outside! There was no deck, no patio. Just tables in the grass, under the shade of the maple tree.
If I could come up with any entertaining tip it would be this: don’t let a lack of a big deck or a large formal dining room stop you from hosting. I can attest from personal experience that some tables and folding chairs in the grass do just as well when there’s good food and good company. Lawn darts, anyone?