People who know me know that I love to host a party — a birthday party, a graduation party, a retirement party. We often have friends for dinner, and I’m more than happy to host a book group or one leg of the annual church progressive dinner. For almost every one of our 40-plus holidays together my husband and I have hosted a holiday open house. I just like to celebrate the large and small moments in life, and sometimes even the non-moments.
All this partying has lead to a substantial cache of entertaining gear, not the least of which are “the traveling wine grasses.”
Technically, I only own half of them; 36 to be exact, acquired one fall more than 10 years ago when my husband found inexpensive glass wineglasses in their own storage crates. He bought one crate of 18. When I pointed out that our holiday party typically has more than 30 attendees, he agreed to pick up a second crate. Before he got a chance to accomplish that, my friend Sherry (another enthusiastic hostess) heard about his “find” and asked him to get two crates for her. Now, between the two of us, we had a total of 72 wine glasses! (The possibilities, we thought, were endless.)
These are not fancy glasses. They are stemmed, and they are glass, but they are on the small side, making them less desirable for true oenophiles or serious wine tasting. On the plus side, they eliminate paper and plastics or renting glasses for a large group.
Even if a guest grabs a second or third glass, the hosts aren’t likely to run out. These glasses are dishwasher proof, making post-party clean-ups that much simpler. The self-storing boxes they came in are just as easy to pop into a car to deliver to the next event. (This is what Sherry and I were always doing!) They stack easily on a shelf in my basement party closet.
Hence the name, traveling wine glasses…
For awhile Sherry’s husband (also a writer) and I fantasized a bit about short stories we could write about the events the glasses “attended.” Perhaps the glasses would overhear some juicy gossip about a local politician or they could be serving wine at a family event where the entrepreneurial young nephew meets the host’s venture capitalist friend and together they end up launching the “next big thing.”
Could one of the glasses stray — along with a party guest — into a more remote room of the party house to steal jewelry from the hostess’s dressing room or perhaps critical files from a computer? (Hardly a possibility at my house where there are no dressing rooms, jewels or crucial computer files, but perhaps if I were writing a detective novel…)
I do know the glasses have attended family reunions and toasted 90th birthdays. At my own holiday open house they have overheard tales of family vacations, teen-age speeding tickets, and the angst of aging parents. They have commiserated over lost jobs, long-distance moves and health crises and then celebrated with us when careers and good health were restored.
I’d like to think they enjoy a good party as much as I do.
And so the traveling wine glasses have been merrily rolling along, until this summer’s tragic breakup. This spring my friend Sherry and her husband decided to downsize and move 600 miles to be closer to their daughter and new grandson! This move made a great deal of sense for them and they love their home and proximity to family, but they took half the glasses with them! (I feel a lot like my two-and-a-half year-old grandson, who readily traded all of his “binks” at the toy store for a shiny new fire engine, then at bedtime realized the enormity of what he had done and wailed, “My binks! She kept my binks!”)
So, I’m sure Sherry’s half of the glasses will attend plenty of parties in her new home. (In fact, I think they have already traveled to her daughter’s for a welcome party.) I’ll make do with what I have and rent what I need. But I’m really glad that all 47 appetizer plates are mine!