Saturday, March 5, 2011

Crab...There Shoulda Been Eight!

Last night we had a wonderful dinner with some very special friends. It was our annual crab feed started many years ago by our friends, Barbara and Bill. Remember how I was telling you on Monday that Dave and Jim are best friends? Well, there use to be a third musketeer, and that was Bill. Those three were such a kick together and loved each other like brothers for many years. Long, very sad story, short...we lost Bill to cancer 5 years ago. Bill and Jim had been close friends since they were in Cub Scouts together and grew up on the same street.

Bill and Barbara started an annual crab feed to celebrate her birthday in January. It became a tradition, a bit of a sacred cow, to all of us and something we looked forward to every year. After Bill's passing we didn't have it for a few years. I think, although unspoken, we just couldn't. But the last three years we have been doing it again and it is wonderful. We never circle around the table without thinking of him and how much we miss him...there shoulda been eight last night! He is always with all of us in spirit.

The funny thing about the crab feed is if you are hosting you don't cook anything. You just go get the crab and get the house ready. So the first thing I wanted to do was put a little spring in the house and get the Valentine's Day mantel put away. I didn't do too much because it seems way to early for Easter so..this is what I did.

The mantel rebirth...

I put this hemi-sectioned bird cage up. It is really a neat spring accessory. It actually can be hung on the wall as the back side is flat but I decided to just set it on the mantel with some candles.

A Spring Rabbit...too old to be a bunny!

I got out my old stuffed rabbit that we have had for years and years and stuck him up there with a couple of little books, one of them is The Velveteen Rabbit. (The books should be straightened up a bit and not hanging over the edge. Lazy phot0graphy) These are the kind of photo botches that use to make me crazy, when taking photos for my portfolio of houses. The glass candle sticks needed some fat pillar candles but I didn't have any yet, so used these amber bejeweled votive cups...they worked in a pinch.

I love these little bird staring into the nest as if anticipating...

I took down my apple green and berry wreath and put up the picture I like to use now until the fall. This is an original water color that I bought at Goodwill for $35.00 one year. I treasure it! It is the best thrift store item I have ever found. So that was all I did to the dining room decor to get ready. It is looking a little more springy and didn't take much time at all.

Next order of the day...selecting the china, etc...

These dishes Jim and I have had for years. He has always calls them our presidential dishes. I renamed them our Mount Royal dishes because this same pattern was used in the mini-series North and South by the Main family, the Mount Royal Plantation owners.

I usually use black napkins and stemware.

They have this touch of lavender in them so I arranged these flowers to go with them. I am no flower arranger (Maureen don't look too closely), but I wanted something that was low enough so you didn't have to remove it during dinner. I didn't have a short vase so I used a cut crystal biscuit jar someone gave us. It worked just great and what else can you use a biscuit jar for anyway?

Thank heavens for baby's breath that
helps hold the flowers in place.

This shot is for Nellie since she had one
of a candle through a glass on
Tablescape Tuesday this past week..

Friday evening arrived and the guests came with their contributions to the dinner...

Lee and Dave brought the most gigantic,
delicious artichokes
and the very best
lemons we have ever tasted.

Stacey and Rob brought this incredible wonton, green salad with grapes, peanuts and all kinds of other wonderful salad ingredients.

And Barbara brought crunchy French Bread, Mud Pie and a beautiful fruit torte. Somehow I missed a photo of all that. Oh yes, now I remember... She and Lee were serving the dessert while I was lazing around, chatting with Stacey! I am so bad...Sorry Barb and Lee!

The funny part about this whole dinner party thing is that the once the food and people gather around and all the food comes out on the table you could have used paper plates. No one really notices and you just sit back and enjoy your good friends, and the food and forget about the rest.

It has served its purpose by then; setting a nice, welcoming mood for the real event, and letting me fool around with the part I love best. This dinner could not be more perfect for me. My comfort zone personified...the decor and buying the crab, and Jim unwrapping it and throwing it in a bowl. Perfect.. and that crab is the best fast food on the earth, by the way!

So once we are ready to eat all the mismatched dishes for crab shells etc. emerge and we try to find a spot for everything. As you can see, Jim even brought the melted butter to the table in a pan. Yikes..oh well. As I told him earlier, when we were getting ready, he could have worn his PJs to the dinner. These are those kind of family, where you can just relax and be yourself.

Lee, David, Rob and Stacey!

The friends..Lee, David, Rob, Stacey, Barbara,
Jim's empty chair and me.
Poor Jim I forgot to get his photo during dinner.


Lee and Dave

Stacey and Rob
The young'uns of the bunch

I hope they all enjoyed the evening as much as we did.
Thanks for coming guys, and Bill, we missed you, as always!


Jim said...

I love you Bon-Bon and I miss you my friend Bill...but I eat your portion of crab for you!

lizzilee said...

Bonnie, how elegant and beautiful everything was and always is. You and Jim are an amazing team for sure! Thank you for sharing your home, your love, and your blog with us!

Barbara and Bill, Stacy and Rob, Bonnie and Jim, how we love you all. Hugs, Hugs, Hugs.
And Love,
Lee and Dave

Barbara said...

Dear, dear, Bonnie -
To say that everything was completely wonderful on this 10th anniversary of the first one is a TOTAL understatement. It is still such a special event for me and words can't express the love and tender emotions that I feel when we do it. Thanks so much to both of you for allowing us to continue the tradition at your house (and at THE table) where it all started.

Big hug!

Marie said...

Beautiful post Bonnie! Loved everything. Your words about missed and much loved friends. Your Mantle, the table decor and the food! What a lovely evening! xxoo

Caroline Craven said...

The food looks so yummy. We only do crab a couple of times a year here as we pay upwards of $18.00/pound, so it has to be a special occassion. Plus, I think Kent and I are the only ones who love it, the kids (with the exception of Nicki, who has moved on) just like it. The picture of Bill brought a tear to my eyes. We weren't as close as the rest of you, but we always considered Bill and Barbara some of our best friends. Loved the picture. Thanks so much. Give my love to the rest of the gang. I miss you all so much, especially reading your blog of such a fun time together.