It's my turn to host the Monthly prayer gathering, again. I used to host it in November, usually the weekend before Thanksgiving, and prepare a Thanksgiving-type meal. Then, after my mother's death, I switched with one of my cousins and chose to host it in October, since it is my mother's birthday month. So, this year, I will host the prayer gathering on Saturday, October 21. It will be in the evening, with dinner to follow; I prefer the evening because it gives me a little more time to prepare for it on the date, itself.
I have always prepared the food, myself, but, in 2015, when I hosted it just a few weeks after my lumpectomy, I asked if we could do a potluck, because I wasn't able to do much (surgery was on the right side and I am right-handed). One of my aunts opined that I should have it catered, but everyone else was willing to do the potluck. My daughter came down to help me and cooked sesame chicken. My cousin P and friend R came over the night before and, with daughter's help, cleaned the house. Everyone else brought a dish and, I think, everyone was quite happy. I know it encouraged at least one or two others to also do potluck meals.
The following year, I did most of the cooking, although a friend of mine, who does catering on the side, helped with some of it.
This year, I will, once again, prepare most of the meal. I haven't decided on a menu, yet, but I am thinking I'll make a roast dinner rather than rice and curries. Or, perhaps a mixture, especially if my friend who does catering is able to help me out. I'll make roast chicken if she'll cook a fish curry and we can argue who will make the beef!
I know that, most probably, everyone will not be able to attend, but, if everyone does come, there will be around 20 people, plus myself. In any case, I usually cater for about 20-25 people, because I send plates home for those who couldn't attend and to my neighbors. My daughter will not be attending as she will be coming down twice in November (for my birthday and for Thanksgiving).
Usually, it is not the meal itself that stresses me out. It is getting the house cleaned and tidy. Yes, I know people are not coming to inspect the house; they are coming for prayers and dinner in the company of one another, but I know that people do notice things. And, some of them comment! I've had helpful family and friends comment on how dusty the chandelier is, or how old the valance is, or how the garden wouldn't look the way it does if my mother had been alive, etc. I always tell myself that the next time someone says something, I will hand them the duster or the broom, but then, they might tell me I need a new duster or a broom! LOL.
Anyway, I have almost 5 weeks to prepare. That's longer than I had to plan my wedding! It's not like I can dust the living room today and then consider that done! But, I can declutter and do some of the deep cleaning, one room at a time. Oh, and wash the chandelier! It hasn't been washed for over two years. But, I will not stress too much about it. It will be close enough to Halloween, so, if I can't clear all the cobwebs, I will simply say they are my organic Halloween decorations! Come to think of it, a packet of that artificial cobwebs stuff might come in handy.
What are some of the gatherings you host at home? How do you prepare for them? Do you go all out with the cleaning or are you more laid back?