For my Kentucky Kitchen Table project, I hosted a hometown dinner. Instead of me being the one who invited the guest I let my sister decide who would be invited. I thought that letting her decide who should be there would put an interesting spin on how the project works. All the guests were younger than me which I expected to give a different perspective than what I would have gotten if I had invited people the same age as me here in Bowling Green. I had the dinner at my home in Louisville. My mother very graciously made my family’s favorite dinner for every one that was there. This was to make sure that guests would not have to provide anything and would be able to just enjoy the evening.
Kylee, my sister, invited three of her friends that I had only met briefly in passing. The one girl invited was her friend Cate, who is her coworker at the library. They both work as clerks. Cate is a very liberal person and does not hesitate to share her views on anything, especially things that involve politics. Cate’s brother Bob was also invited. He has a lot of political views, but is often not as vocal about them as Cate. The last person she invited was her friend Brandon. He is an out gay man who she met through friends at school. My sister and my parents, Jon and Misty, were also there. My entire family is very conservative. My father is a southern Baptist preacher and my parents raised me and my sister very religiously.
When I talked to Kylee before the meal she said that Cate, Bob, and Brandon were very excited to meet our family and to participate in this project. The only thing that she mentioned in a negative way was that Brandon was not sure how my parents would react to him. I was interested to see how things unfolded. Knowing my parents, I know that while they have very strong views they are also very welcoming of anyone they meet. They like to get to know people’s stories. I knew that there would not be any issues even though there were would be several different views and beliefs presented that night.
This dinner happened to fall right around the same time as my sister’s birthday, so the conversations that took place early on were directed around that. We soon drifted into other subjects and had some very deep, meaningful conversations about current events. It became clear that there were several different opinions in the room. Everyone did a really good job of listening to others’ opinions and sharing their own viewpoints without chastising or belittling the other people in the room. We were able to have very good conversations and really learn about why people believe what they believe.
The way the conversation went reminded me of the reading How We Talk Matters. In that article we discussed the trend of people not listening to others when they talk about social or political issues and almost yelling and forcing their views on others. We also talked about how this trend is hurting society because no one will take the time to listen to others to gain an understanding about what they believe. This was not at all the case with this project. Everyone who was present really seemed interested in what others there had to say and were willing to think about things differently.
One of my favorite moments of the night actually happened after dinner was over. Cate, Bob, and Brandon stuck around after the meal and we all played Apples to Apples. At first it was just me, my sister, and her friends, the younger crowd. My parents were loading the dishes into the dishwasher and tidying up the kitchen. Toward the middle of the game my dad decided that he wanted to join in play. You could tell that Kylee’s friends were not sure how this was going to go and were afraid the fun we were having was about to be dampened by a middle age father wanting to play. They soon realized that my father was not easily offended, had a good sense of humor, and would play along with most anything that was happening. We spent a good part of the night playing different games and I think that was much more fun than the dinner itself was.
I think that this just goes to show that sometimes people defy your expectations. Sometimes you can find common ground in the funniest places with people you think may not except your way of life or agree with what you believe. I believe if more people realized this we would all be able to live better together, which is a key theme to this class. Also, the fact that my sister is such good friends with people who obviously believe very differently than her, shows that people can live in harmony if they are willing to work together and respect each other’s differences.
Overall this project was pretty fun. It was originally kind of hard to organize, and I had to change plans a several times for it to work out. An unexpected bonus, I believe that I gained three new friends out of it. It is so funny how you can hit it off with different people even if you think that you will probably only be acquaintances. Brandon and I ended up getting along really well and have stayed in contact since the project. To me, this new friendship is greater than any grade I might get for this project. I am glad that something that will hopefully last for a long time can blossom from an assignment that I wasn’t sure would be very fun. I hope that everyone else’s project went as well as mine did and I hope that classes in future semesters enjoy it as much as I did.