The avenues of downtown Newport are packed with locals headed out to their favorite watering holes. I am in their midst carrying a large plastic serving bowl filled with baked breaded chicken strips marinated in balsamic vinegar and lime. The title for this evening's potluck is Ethnic Dinner and a Movie. I attempted to do an Asian fusion dish for this evening's potluck. Alas, I forgot to add the honey glaze. Still, the small sampling which I had tasted pretty good.
Potluck parties remind me of my childhood growing in the Midwest before the advent of the Internet. Back then, we relied upon the phone and mail to assign dishes to the attendees. These days, we use Facebook, email chains, and even messageboards to assign culinary duties.
I arrive and the party is in full swing. The first order of business is to greet the host and the guests. Next, I am off to the kitchen to heat up the chicken in the microwave. Another guest is preparing king cake for this evening's dessert offering. Turns out that she is hosting the Mardi Gras potluck next week.
Back out in the dining room, the other guests are mingling. A few minutes later, we all convene around the dinner table. Drinks are poured and we begin passing out plates and silverware. All of the dishes look and smell wonderful. The conversation skips around a variety of topics. We start off chatting about sports, next a splash of politics, celebrities, history, board games, and then we are subjected to rousing anecdotes from the Naval officers in the group about life aboard a ship.
The hours slip by with lots of eating and laughter. An accidental glance at the clock lets me know that it is time to go. Tomorrow is Sunday and I have church choir rehearsal and two musical performances. I thank the host for her hospitality, say goodbye to the other guests, and I slowly begin gathering up my things.
Once back out on the street, my mind flashes on how different my life was six months ago. I am socializing more than ever and it feels good to circulate out in the world again.