‎"...a little 'trouty', but quite good" ~ Eve Kendall, North By Northwest

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Real Trout Towers

It's always disconcerting inviting people to Trout Towers for the first time. It's even more disconcerting when I invite one of you.

By "you" I mean people who have come to know Trout Towers through what I've written - real-life friends who know me and read the blog, and internet friends who have become real-life friends. You have an image of what it will be like, and I don't want to let you down.

In general, I think people are let down.

After all, it is just a house. There are no turrets. There's not a widow's walk. We do not have topiary shaped like chickens.

There are signs of life around the house I notice only when people are coming over: the drift of items tucked in and around shelves; ceiling lights we didn't find a fixture for and forgot; handprints on walls; half-finished projects. It's as if we lit the house with candles all week and then brought in stadium lights for when guests arrive. Stadium lights are very unflattering.

All of this is not what I think of as Trout Towers, nor is it what I think of as I hatch cockamamie plans for parties. I don't think of the failings until it is too late and guests are en route. Hiding in the bedroom is out of the question because that's where people put their coats.

I could try to blend with the coats, but here's what happens: Once there are coats on the bed, I start seeing Trout Towers the way it really is.

People arrive and I remember that I love them. I offer food. They offer food. We are all so glad to see each other, everything else melts. The stadium lights shift their focus from the flaws to the friends. They are radiant.

At some point I realize I've invited five times as many people as I have chairs. (This is why I don't do dinner parties.) I worry about being a good hostess for a few seconds and then am derailed by something shiny - like friends connecting with other friends, or someone's baby falling asleep in my arms.

I am suddenly, unspeakably proud of my home. Because this is Trout Towers. This unselfconscious buzz of people and kindness. I don't have the shiniest candlesticks or the nicest countertops or the most organized bookshelves. I do have the most interesting friends with the biggest hearts and the greatest talents. As some very wise person once said, "the ornaments of a house are the guests who frequent it." They pretty much go with everything.

People may very well be let down by the lack of chicken topiary. Believe me, I feel their pain. But as cozy as this pile of coats is, I'd rather hang out with my friends and family.

That's where Trout Towers is.