The lasagna was incredibly zesty. We took it in with a bottle of 2004 Castelli del Grevepesa Clemente VII Chianti Classico that a student of mine from last year, Jessica Corder, had brought back from her home in Italy for me last Christmas break. (Everybody should have such students!) I hadn't tried this one before, and had been saving it up for some festive occasion, and this clearly fit the bill. Everyone seemed to think it crisp and smooth and a very pleasant companion to the lasagna and salad, so I'll probably keep an eye out for it. Dinner, predictably, had its share of theological conversation, mostly bouncing around patristics topics and questions about the state of Bob's research and talk about Irenaeus of Lyon. We talked of teaching, too, and tripped unexpectedly into the work of Robert Frost, the nature of the decline of a popular appreciation of poetry as an art, and the possible virtues of memorized poetry. (I learned his "The Road Not Taken" as a high school freshman, and still think about it relatively frequently. But I suppose it has the vague, post-modern-y virtue of being applicable to whatever the hearer should choose to designate that road, and then allow him or her to engage in self-congratulation for having done so.) I asked about everyone's thoughts about great romantic lines, casting about for some ideas for a new song, but this was met more with amusement and teasing more than spontaneous reflections on the most romantic things they'd all heard from their spouses/one another, which is probably not that surprising. I guess it was a rather cheeky question. Bob was brought in obliquely to the other month's Leave It To Beaver/Sex in the City conversation about media, sexuality and child-rearing, and the various side-conversations about movies, television, and stories ebbed and flowed in the way you'd expect with old friends. Mike and Donna were looking for something new to watch, and I had brought along the first season of Smallville and championed its virtues. It was incredibly satisfying after having to play the hermit and cancel all my social plans over the last few weeks.
With the kids in bed and then, later, finally settled and sleeping, we drifted outside where Dan and made a fire by the patio. The guys pulled out their pipes, which always makes me roll my eyes at them, and I pulled my chair more to the other side of the fire so that I could smell the woodsmoke rather than their pipesmoke. I went in with Amy down in the cellar a little later and pulled out a few more bottles of wine. That's where I discovered that one of the bottles that she and Dan had brought along to my party at The Twisted Fork when I passed my doctoral exams had been a $250 bottle, which made me all the more wide-eyed at their kindnesses. I had been humbled simply by the fact that they'd brought wine. We took the bottles out to the fire and poured it liberally through the conversation. In time, ice cream was suggested and it was decided that it would be just slightly uncomfortably chilly to eat it outside, so we gathered back around the table with vanilla, dark chocolate syrup, and a variety of movie theatre boxes of candy as extra toppings. A bizarrely-detailed conversation on our comparative dental histories ensued. Suddenly it was the early hours of morning, much later than these parents usually stay up, and we broke up with a tired glow. I don't know: this is, of course, just a coarse, comparatively-uninteresting sketch of what it was all like, but I do think it's worth making some note of these events: they're the very spice of life.
I'm getting together with Meg and Julie in one large wine-fest on Thursday, to make up for multiple cancelations, so that should be fun, and Amy insists there's some sort of Grey's Anatomy thing on Wednesday tho' I'm sure the new season premieres next week. And Jules and I grabbed tickets for Regina Spektor's show in a few weeks, so I'm jazzed for that. People! Fun!