The night ol’ Woody stole the show

The night ol’ Woody stole the show

And then there were six. Friends invited us for dinner last week. Actually, let me be more accurate…acquaintances invited us for dinner last week. In fact, indulge me one more time, and allow me one more correction, lest it be said that I was disingenuous in my regaling of events.
Friends of my friend’s (Gary’s) parents invited a guest lecturer from Belgium – who teaches in Public Health at UWC – to dinner. On the 11th hour, the Belgian was unable to attend. But, our gracious host and hostess (who had no idea we were to be their guests at the time) had already cooked up a storm – a perfect storm!

They then called Gary’s parents to join them for dinner, as the food was going to be far too much for just the two of them. We know the couple, but hadn’t spent much meaningful time with them. They come to our shows and we get to say hello and exchange a word or six…and they always seem very affable. But that was the extent of our interaction to date. And here we are, dressed in come-as-you-are wear, about to be treated to what turned out to be a most palatable gourmet dinner.

Before the invitation came our way, Gary and I were entertaining a friend who had come home to visit from Bahrain.
She was just about to leave and we were planning to get take-outs for dinner because we still had quite a bit of packing to do in preparation for a conference the following day. Then the call came…from Gary’s mom…come for “emergency dinner” – her words. Be part of the rent-a-crowd. Also, her words. The crowd turned out to be the six of us around a fancy dinner table…
We needed to eat anyway. Might as well be in Plumstead! After all, it is literally just a few minutes away from my home, and it beats having to eat fast foods.
Ten minutes later we were on Rosmead Avenue, and, I must add, with only a little bit of annoyance from Gary, because his mom’s directions were not spot-on.

Only two wrong turns and one three-point turn later, we were in our hosts’ beautiful home: warm, friendly, chatting and laughing away merrily.
This is still undoubtedly my favourite way of spending an evening. And they had three gorgeous cats. I of course fell in love with one of them and, if all goes well, he, named Woodrow, or Woody for short, might be coming to live with me in the near future…but that is a story for another time! Suffice to say that the three cats are their daughter’s. She lives in the UK and recently had to move to India. The cats couldn’t go. So, they (the three pussies) were flown to Cape Town, to live with the grandparents!

And, what a lovely evening this turned out to be, with conversations vacillating from dishwashers to Marxism, and from Suggestopedia to condoms. The latter – don’t ask! The least said about why they came up as dinner table conversation, the better. But, let it be said, an entire box of government condoms enjoyed pride of place next to the apple pie and cream. Again, suffice to say: jokes abounded. And, all the while Woody would perambulate between the kitchen and the dining room table – right here by my ankles – milking me, and Gary, for all the attention he can possibly get. And, a few photographs (and video clips) later, he was indubitably the star of the evening, the very star he believes he was no doubt meant to be…

The moral of this little tale? Sometimes the best things in life happen spontaneously. And, never give up believing that a great gourmet meal might be just minutes away without any plans from your side…never give up on the ability to love and be loved.
The adage that speaks to strangers only being friends you do not know refers…well in this case; acquaintances became friends in one fell swoop.
And who knows? Perhaps in a few months’ time I shall be waxing lyrical about Woody and his antics…