An Evening in Rivendell  

Posted by Agnes Regina

The de Erausquin house has been given the name of Rivendell, the house of Elrond, not only for our love of all things Tolkien but for the hospitality Mami and Tata are famous for. Let me give you a brief picture of a typical barbecue night.

About four or five, the girls begin to set the table (all but the one who's taking care of the baby, if anyone is) and Rocio or Ignacio is sent to start the fire after the little boys gather enough sticks. By the time the guests arrive, the fire is blazing and Tata is starting to put red-hot coals into the grill to start the bratwurst cooking. Beer (or wine) and conversation ensue - both around the fire, where Tata is busily making more fire just in case, and in the kitchen, where Mami is making salad and directing the setting of the table by one or more of the girls. Of course, something always gets forgotten, be it water, wine, corkscrew, or napkins... and there's always an argument as to how many can fit at the grown-ups' table. (The answer is anywhere from eight to a dozen.)

When the brats are ready dinner is served - everyone crowds into the dining room, takes his place, and when the chaos is more or less over and the salad served, we say grace. Then the meat begins to be passed around, and at various points in the deafening roar of conversation and eating we have a brief interruption while someone gets sent to bring in the next piece that's ready.

When the meal is over, the younger boys are set to picking up the plates while the unfortunate older kid whose turn it is, complaining and protesting, goes to start putting them in the dishwasher. As there is never room enough for all the plates we use on a typical barbecue night, the rest must needs be done by hand. Another older girl puts on the coffee and begins to carefully bring out the delicate coffee cups and saucers (these, a wedding gift to Mami and Tata, are lovely, thin china, blue-and-white, with real gold-leaf edges and trim, so the one that breaks one might risk getting killed slowly and painfully!) At the same time, dessert is served. The little ones eat it quickly and clamor to be allowed to retire and play in the library; the grown-ups release them and enjoy the relative quiet over dessert and coffee.

At this point Tata is liable to say, "Inés (or Ignacio), bring me the guitar." The one so commanded hands him the gorgeous old instrument, which results in a long and meticulous tuning session in the course of which he will exclaim several times, "Ig, I don't know how you can play this thing in such bad tune!" Then he strums idly for a while, continuing the conversation, and finally we begin to sing the zambas, the wonderful (and usually sad) traditional songs of Argentina. I'll join in with the piano or recorder, and sometimes Ignacio picks up the smaller guitar and attempts to fill in some ornaments as well. Then comes the flamenco; and finally, I'll take the piano and (yes, I confess it) show off for a while, playing and then singing whatever I think of or whatever Tata asks for.

When the guests finally decide to go home it's usually close to midnight, and we are left to finish clearing and cleaning up and go to bed, usually with the prospect of getting up fairly early the next morning (as these are usually on Saturday, and there is, of course, choir practice and Mass the next day!)

This entry was posted on August 04, 2009 at Tuesday, August 04, 2009 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

16 comments

0.o ooohhh flamenco awesome stuff, I have always wanted to dance that; Jamming also something I wish I could do more often( and better). Wow that is awesome, I wish one day I could be there! I love ,large family, events, especially ones involving food, and music!

!!!next time were in ST.Louis(hahaha I think I was the only one who got that...lol), you'll have to call us! Do you you perchance have any thing Flamenco, or Argentinian folk for the accordion? Then I can learn it, and we can play it in Syracues.( just a thought) seriously though, if you find anything,(preferably simple)for the accordion, could you perchance send it this way?

August 5, 2009 at 9:27 PM

I love the part about complaining over putting dishes in the dishwasher. Well, if you perfer to wash it all by hand, be my guest! =)

Ah, the sights and sounds of a trad bbq. I'll miss summer when it ends.

August 6, 2009 at 10:34 AM

Um....... wow. I wish I had some tangos - the bandoneon, which is very similar to the accordion, is a typical instrument for that music. I'll see what I can find for you!

Well, as I said, Jude, we usually have to wash the leftover dishes (and the fine china) by hand, and we have to complain about something... =P

August 6, 2009 at 11:17 AM

You make it sound too organized Ini!

August 6, 2009 at 12:36 PM

i agree maria

August 6, 2009 at 12:59 PM

Deff. There's nothing but chaos start to finish.

August 6, 2009 at 2:56 PM

Yes ... it is the after dinner, absolutely spontaneous entertainment that really is beyond fun and distinctly "de Erausquin". The bickering over the timing of feet and instruments is the pinnacle of comedy. And you left out the skits and stories of "when we were young(er)".

You really should leave a hat on the coffee table or by the front door to collect tips ... like they do in the subways.

August 6, 2009 at 3:06 PM

Good idea!!! I'll be sure to do it.

August 6, 2009 at 4:35 PM

sounds good

August 6, 2009 at 7:50 PM

"When the brats are ready dinner is served"

Now are we talking children or meat here? :P

As a veteran BBQ attendee, I definitely agree with Ro and Maria about the chaos, although Ines has done a great job of breaking it down into its constituent parts. If you could imagine everything happening more or less at the same time, you'd have the idea...seriously, along with the tip jar, Maria should make a logo and put as the tag line: "If It's Not Chaotic, It's Not De Erausquin..."

(haha-you know-like a perfume ad!!)

August 6, 2009 at 8:56 PM

LOL! I agree! That's true, Juxta, I forgot the fights over timing etcetera... well, I can't give away ALL our secrets :P

Glo: BAD BAD BAD pun.... but hilarious...

August 6, 2009 at 11:30 PM

yes, the Bandoneon, is like the Italian accordion. But nowadays accordions just have a bandoneon switch, which makes it sound like a bandonoen. Regretfully, mine does not have a bandonoen sound-switch.

I am VERY beginner accordionist,but if you send me the music(or E-mail) I might have it by Syracues.( By Our Lady, I'll get there)

August 7, 2009 at 10:32 AM

lol we have had those times, our " evenings at the Sentmanats" But usually its trying to get Noah to get out his cello, or Benny doesn't want to play folk, but it is always something to look forward to. It is like one large happy chaotic dance.

another thing, Tango something else I want to dance! =D

August 7, 2009 at 10:50 AM

Flamenco is soooo much cooler! :P

I'm in the middle of a workshop right now... I have class in... *checks clock*... two hours.

August 7, 2009 at 11:58 AM

Thats awesome, I love flamenco I have seen little of it, but I would love to do it someday.
When I was about 7-8 I had a tap teacher who did flamenco; he taught us( I mean flamenco) for a little while, but wasn't with us for long =(.
LOL I have done, worn, and seen many things, but I don't think I would look any-good dancing flamenco; not that I don't want to do it, but......

I suppose I have to many pipedreams, and goals; so they often get mixed up =(..........

August 7, 2009 at 3:46 PM

Well... why not have pipe-dreams? There's nothing better. I still have tons. So dream on, and work to filfill them.

August 9, 2009 at 1:46 AM

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