NEW STORY: "Like Leaves of Trees in the Summer Breeze," by Joseph Modugno
Is it the New Year again?

Why, that means it is time to join with friends and acquaintances and celebrate the year's turning by attending a cheerful, festive, contained gathering!

Or perhaps you are planning a party of your own?

Joseph Modugno's short story "Likes Leaves of Trees in the Summer Breeze" teaches us that a good party is difficult to pull off. There must be the right balance between restraint and excess, and the right sorts of people must attend in order to keep things both civil and interesting. People must feel comfortable, but not so comfortable that they might as well be at home.

There will always be some cads and jokers, but their presence must be expected, and they must be encouraged to amuse themselves at their own expense instead of at the expense of others. No matter what goes wrong, you must maintain your poise.

From "THE MANNERS OF A HOSTESS," by Emily Post (1922):

First of all, a hostess must show each of her guests equal and impartial attention. Also, although engrossed in the person she is talking to, she must be able to notice anything amiss that may occur. The more competent her servants, the less she need be aware of details herself, but the hostess giving a formal dinner with uncertain dining-room efficiency has a far from smooth path before her. No matter what happens, if all the china in the pantry falls with a crash, she must not appear to have heard it. No matter what goes wrong she must cover it as best she may, and at the same time cover the fact that she is covering it. To give hectic directions, merely accentuates the awkwardness. If a dish appears that is unpresentable, she as quietly as possible orders the next one to be brought in. If a guest knocks over a glass and breaks it, even though the glass be a piece of genuine Steigel, her only concern must seemingly be that her guest's place has been made uncomfortable. She says, "I am so sorry, but I will have it fixed at once!" The broken glass is nothing! And she has a fresh glass brought (even though it doesn't match) and dismisses all thought of the matter.

Moreover, your guests will need entertainment:

Posted by miracle on Tue, 30 Dec 2008 23:38:55 -0500 -- permanent link

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