Mother was a proud member of the prestigious Cordell Yamparika Bridge Club before anyone thought to research the meaning and the origin of its name. I did. Yamparika is Comanche for “root eaters.” The club thrived throughout the 1950s and probably still does, though maybe under a more fitting title.
In preparation for hosting one of those gatherings, Mom polished silver, ironed tablecloths and napkins, set out the crystal she would use when it came time to serve the Yamparika ladies the perfect pastries she had painstakingly prepared. As the hour of their arrival approached, she sometimes threw out pots of freshly brewed coffee until she was pleased with the taste and clarity of the perfect brew. What I never did witness was Mom enjoying her own party before, during or after it got under way. Vowing that would never happen to me, I re-defined “host” long before it came time for me to be one.
The guests who have arrived bearing goodies to my house over the years have “metamorphed” into co-hosts the minute they crossed my threshold — though I might have pushed it with one group last month.
I rose early on the fourth Thursday of June in order to finish the book the Thursday’s Child book club would review that afternoon, then whipped up a peach cobbler and set the oven timer to go off an hour later, the same time my guests would arrive at 2 p.m. Then I picked up my ringing phone — a business call not to be rushed, and the problem hadn’t been resolved when the doorbell and the oven timer went off simultaneously.
I cradled the phone in the crook of my neck and waved the ladies to follow me to the kitchen where they left their goodies and I retrieved the bubbling cobbler from the oven, not missing a beat in my phone conversation.
Two hours later we had finished a most satisfying book review and were heading for refreshments in the dinette when the phone rang again — this time a recently bereft and grieving relative. Leaving the others to serve and then seat themselves around the table, I took the phone elsewhere for privacy and was trying to convey the sympathy I genuinely felt when the power went out and the phone went dead.
No electricity, no coffee. Wrong. I put water on to boil, dumped in several scoops of coffee grounds, strained the boiled coffee into cups, and our campfire coffee was declared delicious by all.
The house was growing dark and the temperature was growing uncomfortably warm by 5 p.m. when the power came back on, and the ladies left soon after. I think I heard Mom clucking her tongue as the last car pulled away, but I had enjoyed my own party and I’d swear the other host-guests had too.
MARJORIE ANDERSON is an Edmond resident.