Header image by Tim Evanson , CC BY-SA 2.0
Today’s post comes from Steve Grooms
Well, you don’t really have to guess, for you get to choose any dinner guest in the world, living or dead. Which person would you enjoy meeting informally, entertaining them in your own home?
Maybe there is someone from history you always wanted to answer a question. Invite William Shakespeare for dinner, serve him some ale and then ask, “Hey, Bill, I’ve always wanted to ask: who really wrote your stuff?”
But be careful. In 1963 I asked former president Harry Truman a question about his decision to drop the atomic bomb (specifically, the second bomb). He blew a gasket. After reflection, I would do that one differently.
I’ve been thinking about whom I would invite to dinner. In April of 1962 John F. Kennedy hosted a White House dinner for Nobel Prize winners. Kicking the evening off, Kennedy said: “I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered at the White House – with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone.”
Since hearing that, I’ve fantasized about dining with Thomas Jefferson. Given my history, that might be a dangerous choice, for I’d be tempted to ask the author of the Declaration of Independence why he slept with his slave.
That’s okay. I have other choices. Sticking to presidents for the moment, I would pass on Theodore Roosevelt (who was too full of himself) but would love an evening with his nephew, Franklin. To make FDR feel at home I might add his chubby buddy Winston Churchill. (And since this is a fantasy I don’t have to worry about how I could afford Winston’s bar tab.)
My first choice among presidents would be Abraham Lincoln. They say that Lincoln was a terrific storyteller who often embarrassed his stuffy cabinet members with stories that were funny and occasionally a bit earthy. And if Lincoln was coming to dinner, I’d sure want to invite Martin Luther King. I’ll bet they would hit it off.
Maybe you fear you’d be intimidated by hosting a great person. Not to worry. Invite Pope Francis. He seems like a great guy, someone who is approachable. He wouldn’t gripe if you served him less than a gourmet meal. He’d love a tuna casserole. In fact, he’d probably try to wash your feet.
Or would you prefer to host a small group?
Think about an evening spent in the company of Groucho Marx, Paul Wellstone, Pete Seeger and Walt Whitman. Or how about Eleanor Roosevelt, Abigail Adams and Molly Ivins? I don’t think the conversation would drag!
So . . . who’s coming to dinner?