Progressive Dinner: The Last House and Nostalgic Feelings

The night was getting late when the eight of us landed at the last house for our Progressive DInner a week ago, this time for dessert.

There was a glow to the house as we sat around a beautifully lit table and indulged in the most fabulous carrot cake with thick cream cheese frosting (sorry, no recipe included today), and listened to the Christmas sounds in the background.

I loved Kristi’s Winter Wonderland table with candles and pearls. It just felt right. Cozy, comfortable, and delicious coffee as we were hitting the 5th hour of the 8 of us being together.

Before we sat down to eat, I wandered into the living room alone, and my eye caught something all-too-familiar. You see, I always forget that our friends purchased the piano from my folks when my dad got a new one a few years back. And every time I see it, something inside me gets nostalgic and the memories start rolling.

-Years of taking piano lessons

-A very large Mrs. Anderson sitting by my side teaching me piano and theory

-Mrs. Anderson sucking on Certs (she was a smoker)

-The horrible feeling of being “‘unprepared” because I did not practice enough

-Ultimately, hours of release and playing for satisfaction during my teen years

-A feeling that takes me back to the home I grew up in when my Mom was alive … a good feeling.

Music was always a very big part of our home, piano and all. So on this night, I captured the picture quickly of the keys that my fingers tickled for many years.

I then went back in to join the group and the nostalgic feeling was over.

But it felt good while it lasted.

We gave our hugs and said our good-byes, knowing we’d be seeing each other throughout the year for more meals. But not for another Progressive Dinner until Christmas time next year.

We save the date, we save this special event, and we look forward to it ONE time during the year. It’s wonderful and I take it a step further and I think about my kids who are all teens now. They know about this night. They know about the people involved (they love them), and they know about hospitality. They know what’s it like to get ready for a “‘party,”‘ and what to do when people knock at the front door. They know how their parents offer a beverage and have beautiful (sometimes fun and very lively) music playing in the background. If I died today, I know that I know that I know that my kids know how to be hospitable.

And it’s a good thing to know.

Are you showing and passing the gift of hospitality down to your children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, or even neighbor kids?

I’d love to hear your story!

If you missed out on the other “courses” to this meal, you can catch up, here:
Main Course

12 comments on “Progressive Dinner: The Last House and Nostalgic Feelings”

  1. came over from the nesters. curious about the progressive dinner. have heard of them, but never been a part of one. i NEED to!

    how lovely that your childhood piano was in one of the homes. that is so like God to be about details and bless us in little ways that are really so BIG.

    i appreciate this line in your post especially “They know what’s it like to get ready for a “‘party,”‘ and what to do when people knock at the front door.” i love to host people. my whole family knows this. they know their part in the preparations and together we make every gathering happen!

    you’ll delight in knowing that my girls (11 & 8) have been practicing hospitality by throwing parties in their room all month! the party is for their american girl dolls. there have been invitations to a christmas party, details to the events to take place at the party including; a “pin the hat on santa” game they created, tonight there is a sleep over for the a.g. girls in front of the christmas tree in their room, and more…
    watching them nurture that gift of hospitality in each other BLESSES ME! i think ahead to the festivities they will plan when they are women..i can’t wait!

  2. OK – I adore the progressive dinner idea. We are in the process of relocating from south of Denver to San Antonio. Hopefully we will be able to start a tradition with a new small group! Our current small group did the same thing. Started with a study and evolved into friends getting together to support each other!
    I love the hobnail mugs, does anyone know where I can find some?

  3. Pingback: I’m A Reluctant Entertainer

  4. I desire for my girls to know the joys of hospitality and I think they’re well on their way. I see it especially when my oldest plans parties.

  5. This is a bit of a different idea . . . but my mom did a progressive dinner in her own house. Each course was in a different room of the house. She invited 16 people and divided them into pairs. At each couse you went to a different room and changed dinner partners. So fun.


  6. We did progressive dinners when our kids were younger and then as the years have moved on we have just seemed to stop doing them. These posts were a reminder of good times and special friendships. I loved this post about the piano and your connection to it. Although it is not a piano, I too have a special connection to things. I have the Lipton tea pot that my grandmother would make tea for just her and I when I was younger and staying the night with her. I have a box of cards and letters written from my mom to her mother, both of them now long gone but never forgotten. These letters immediately reconnect me with them, for no ones handwriting is the same, and with each quirky letter and the curves of the pen strokes I am reminded of them. I try to tell my kids how important it is to use your own handwriting when sending cards, but of course EVERYTHING is done on the computer now a days. My worry is that my childrens generation will lose that connection of handwriting that is unique to each person, for the ease of typing. Sandy thank you for the reminder that comes from seeing an object that was part of our childhood…..
    Christmas Blessings to you and yours
    Curtis & Sherrie

  7. Whoa I love your blog so much and what a great idea…the progressive dinner! But waaah, why no recipe for the incredible carrot cake? Very very disappointed!

  8. hey Sandy…. just had to comment, because with so many kids, we were always the house that hosted the dinner party, such a great excuse to get the house clean!!! It is such a joy to see our 18 yr old continue the story! When we are out of town and the boys are home alone, we always get the phone call… mom… where are the burgers? How do you make those baked beans? Is there any tri-tip in the freezer, any stuff for a salad? He will always have his friends over for a meal… at our house! He has friends that are living on their own now, and he asks often if we have any leftovers he can take to thier houses, because they never have any food! We always do…and he always takes the good stuff!! LOVE IT!

  9. I see it come out in play often- and when I see it there, I know it’s been sinking in. As each gets older, I am able to include them more and more in the various preparations and details and it’s a blessing.

  10. I’ve really enjoyed reading your Progressive Dinner posts. Thank you for sharing them with us. I especially love this table setting using the milk glass with the candles and pearls. So cozy and welcoming.

  11. It’s been years since we had a progressive dinner…back when Chris Ann lived here in Maryland! Those were special days and will be hard to replace…but, maybe, just maybe, it’s time to start a new one, with new friends! Thanks for sharing your story!

  12. I love the idea of a progressive dinner – sinced you mentioned it before, I’ve been trying to work out how we could do one here. We live pretty far from most of our friends, up to 45mins and although we’re all happy to come to one anothers houses for dinner to do a course each would take a long time!

    Although I still think it could work, we would need to start at about 2pm on a Saturday and just take out time.

    We really need to make some more local friends, we moved to a new area in the summer so we’re still meeting all our neightbours.

    I think my parents really showed us how to be hospitable too, I never really realised it until I started reading you blog though!

    Have a lovely day,

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