My running partner, Greta, is injured. I haven’t been running without the dog since October, when I ran the Army Ten Miler. I’m not sure I know how to do it alone anymore.
Last night I found myself in an awkward corner. A friend of mine had one of those parties where you come and buy stuff. Worse yet, it was jewelry. I just don’t wear jewelry, and I have a difficult time thinking things like, “Oh, this would look just simply adorable on my mother!” I really should have declined the invite, as I have done with all the other invites I’ve gotten for similar parties during Lent, but the friend wasn’t sure many people would really come and I wanted to support her. So the checkbook and I went, leaving the kids with their doting father who put them all nicely to bed.
There were only a few people there when I arrived, and so the hostess gave me a personal tour of the food selections which she had made herself. It was a limited array, because it wasn’t a big party: brownies, mini-pecan pies dipped in chocolate, cheese pinwheels with marinara sauce, stuffed dates wrapped in bacon and sesame bread sticks wrapped in bacon. And after proudly showing off the result of her labor, she stood expectantly waiting for me to sample them and tell her what I thought.
I felt badly. I really would have enjoyed tasting her food, but I had no good excuse for eating bacon on a Friday in Lent. Had I found myself at a seated dinner at which my presence was required, and the host served roast beef, it would be awkward indeed to refuse the food. But these were appetizers in the evening, and I had already eaten dinner. I politely explained that if there were any leftovers, I would happily sample them the next day, but that I couldn’t eat the bacon on Friday. Naturally, as a hostess, she was terribly upset that two-thirds of her finger foods were off limits to her guest. She asked about the desserts, and I told her I had given up chocolate too. I tried to reassure her that I would not starve, that I had eaten dinner, that those cheese pinwheels looked yummy (they were!). Thankfully, the doorbell began ringing, and she was soon distracted by the needs of other guests.
My two Catholic friends who came later were spared a similar scene because there were enough people there that the hostess just waved in the direction of the food and drinks. Mental note: arrive a half-hour after the start time of the party next time.
I did try these bacon wrapped delicacies this morning, and they were delicious. I’ll have to call my friend to tell her so, and I will have to clarify that she should never feel she has to cater to the dietary limitations of a Catholic. I do know how she feels, having frequently had vegetarian guests and once having hosted a boy who was allergic to pork (hooray for Hebrew National hot dogs!). But still, I don’t expect a non-Catholic to remember the no-meat-on-Friday rule and to provide a vast selection of acceptable alternatives.