One of the most common questions we get is "Why do you do this?" My answer is usually pretty lame: "It's fun." But really, the answer is more than that. The whole shebang started as an attempt merely to get some busy friends together for dinner. Obviously it snowballed into something much bigger because, as it turns out, people like connecting with each other. And Mike and I like being the connectors.
Last night, we had a group of guests who, for the most part, didn't necessarily know each other all that well. Around the table there were 20-, 30- and 40-somethings, students and professionals. As the conversation unrolled, I heard at least 4 people declare themselves to be new BFFs. People bonded over - among other things - online gaming, laser tag, life in Southern California (I would use the interstate exchange/area code lingo, but I'm not that hip), Disney World, New Kids on the Block, and competitive yearbooking (yes, that's apparently a real thing). New friends became Facebook official. There was a lot of laughter.
So lemme think of a better answer for why we do this... I'll start with some observations I've gleaned from over the years. We know that it doesn't really matter what we're serving for dinner, it matters who we're eating food with. And we also know that when we make conscious efforts to invite people in, that we are transformed as well. We have the intentional goal of not only feeding guests some yummy noms, but also to invite a diverse group of people to chow down with us. After doing this for 14 years, we absolutely know that who the guests are impacts everyone's experience. We've also seen over and over again how the chance for authentic connection and good food feed the human spirit.
But why TWELVE nights of dinner parties?!!? Well, because I used to have 12 cute holiday dessert plates. And also because through doing this, we've realized that the promise of hospitality comes into crystal clear focus when taken to the extreme. Yeah, it's fun to go out to dinner with friends or to make small talk with a stranger at a holiday party, but it's not remarkable. Café Davis is intentionally designed to be outside the norm. Even if the practice of going to a dinner party seems routine, the production that goes into hosting 12 of them in a row is something altogether different. It's our attempt of offering the utmost of ourselves so that everyone in attendance can feel like they have deepened their connections in our community. They are part of something experienced by at least 130-144 other people. We host Café Davis because we are made for community.
The Persian poet Rumi wrote about hospitality in the 13th century: "This being human is a guest house. ... Welcome and entertain them all...meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in. Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond." We appreciate each of you who have ever joined us or who plan to be part of Café Davis this year. If you haven't made reservations yet there are still a few reservations available. We look forward to inviting you in!