When I was thinking about retirement, I had this idea: Once a month, I would make a big dinner and invite family and friends over. I like to cook, but the last thirteen years in IT made that difficult to do on any kind of regular basis.
A second motivation for these dinners came from a warning years ago from a good friend who advised me that I had “monastic tendencies.” I’d been told by several people who would know that retirement can be a potentially isolating event. I reasoned a monthly dinner would address both my desire to cook and my need to stay connected.
When Kathleen asked me how I would pull this off, I told her I’d just plan a big pot of stuff on, say, every second Tuesday, then send out email blasts to everyone in and out of town and see who showed up. (I believe I was under the influence of “Big Night.”)
Kathleen thought I had come up with the perfect recipe for awkwardness and mayhem, if not outright disaster. She told me I could certainly do what I wanted, but on those special evenings, she would be having dinner alone and out of town.
So: based on our dining room table’s accommodation for six, we compromised on monthly dinner parties for small groups of one to four guests. And under the movie’s influence, I began referring to them as our “Big Nights.”
We began in January two years ago, and all told, we’ve managed to do twenty four dinners, averaging one for each month. I think we can begin to refer to “Big Nights” as a tradition now.
On several of these occasions, we entertained visitors from out of town. (That’s in addition to two bi-coastal out-of-town meals when we were the visitors.) So here’s the deal: if you’re going to be in Albuquerque for any reason, or if you’d like to use having dinner here as an occasion for visiting or even passing through Albuquerque, let us know. We’d love to have you.
Think about it.