Ali built a beautiful fire in the library, but I couldn't get anyone in front of it for the longest time. In daylight, guests are always drawn to the kitchen, with the sunlight streaming in through the stained glass windows. Dinner was in the formal dining room, of course. Afterward, everyone lingered around the table for coffee and pie and Sambuca and wouldn't budge.
Some of my guests had other stops to make, and by evening it was just a few friends. One of the nice things about having a big house is the ability to shut the doors on dirty dishes and move to a clean room. By the time my cooking and serving chores were over, I could relax in front of the still-bright fire with what was left of my company.
Eventually it was just me and three high school friends--plus one patient husband--all together for the first time in many years. The conversation turned at a point, of course, to our children. Sandy has four; I have three; Lorna has two, and Alma has one.
Each of us has one daughter, prettier and more accomplished than we were at the same age. Lila is a professor of religious studies, Emily is a landscape architect, Rebecca is a dancer. Cordelia is going back to school for yet another degree, on her way to becoming an industrial designer. Best of all, they're real sweethearts, kind-hearted, gracious, and polite. Who would have thought, in the crazy sixties, that we'd leave such a beautiful legacy?