“It’s summer and time for wandering” – with limitations of course. Many of them.
I think it’s fair to say the first half of 2020 did not go quite as we might have expected and the world looks a lot different now than it did this time last year.
Most of us were taught very young to embrace the people we love; it’s just natural to hug a friend, family member or someone you haven’t seen in a while, so it should be no surprise that our new way of life is so hard to adapt to, but we are doing it because we have no choice.
“Where wisdom reigns, there is no conflict between thinking and feeling”. And that pretty much says it all. We must be smart, vigilant, keep our vulnerable safe, and stay safe ourselves. So, we adapt and get creative, which is what I have tried to do.
Summer has always been about seeing friends, long weekends at the shore and the lake, impromptu BBQs and last-minute plans.
So how to entertain?
In NY, although we have recently entered phase 4, we are still very limited when it comes to eating in restaurants, so I wanted to find a way to have friends of ours for dinner. My friend is diabetic and considered high-risk, and I wanted her and her husband to be comfortable.
I decided my patio was the answer if I could get it set up properly, so we didn’t have to spend the evening thinking and/or talking about it. I just wanted the evening to flow as normally as possible.
These were my concerns: the heat (given it’s about 90 degrees and we seem to be in some sort of a heat wave in NY), the distance between us all, bugs (because I am one of those people who just can’t enjoy myself outside if I am getting eaten alive), serving food and drinks, all while trying to stay the recommended six feet apart.
Oh yes, and let’s not forget the bathroom.
Ok, a few challenges, but do-able.
I started with the spacing and separated us into couples, two chairs at one end of the long patio table, two at the other.
My patio is set into a corner of the house. I placed one fan inside the house blowing out right by the screen door. This allowed the AC to be pushed outside a bit and kept bugs and germs from entering the house. I placed another fan outside by the table to create another breeze and push germs away, and the two fans working together kept most of the bugs away all night and kept us comfortable and cool.
What would I serve? I didn’t want to keep running back and forth into the house and/or worry about the oven and handling of the food.
I decided to create what I would call a personal smörgåsbord times two, hot and cold combined. That way my guests could have their own round board to share from and my husband and I the same.
I prepared the plates earlier in the day and all I had to do was cook the hot food about an hour before they arrived. I added it to both boards at the last minute.
I set up the utensils before they arrived. I had picked up a few netted table-top canopies, I guess you could call them, added paper plates, napkins, and plastic silverware (that looks and feels real). This solved the problem of worrying about touching things all evening. I must say, that worked very well.
Our friends came with their own small cooler which had beer, wine and glasses. Actually, I thought that was a great idea and decided next time my husband and I are invited out, we must try that! I must admit, by the end of the evening their wine was gone and we may have opened another one of our bottles to share .
The evening went well, relaxed and comfortable, which was all I wanted.
In this climate, everyone’s comfort zone is going to be a little different and it’s important to respect that, but more important, I think, is to be able to talk to each other without feeling uncomfortable about what works for you.
Before Covid, bringing your own cooler to someone else’s house could have been taken as offensive; now it can be seen as respectful.
Good friends and family should be comfortable communicating with each other and I think that is the key to moving forward.
I would like to think that this too shall pass, and the sooner the better, but until then, summer is here and all of the wonderful things that come along with it. We may just have to find new ways to enjoy them.
If you have any creative ideas please share them. You may well have an idea I haven’t thought of!
And please check out what my blogging friends have to say about Summer!