Special Feature: Hospitality
At Our House the Table Is Always Set
By Karen Burton Mains
“Don’t your dishes get dusty?” asked a friend as she watched me place the just-washed
plates back on the dining-room table.
“Probably,” I replied. “But if they do,
we just swipe them. And actually, David
and I eat around the table, so the set-
tings get washed a couple times a week.
However, I am always ready for com-
pany. I think a set table says, ‘Welcome.’
It says, ‘We are waiting for you.’ It says,
‘We are ready.’ ”
This idea came from a friend who set
her table several days before anticipated
company arrived; for her, it just made the
day of a dinner party much less frantic,
and a beautifully set table put her in the
mood for entertaining.
So I took the idea home, and this tradition has now evolved into a seasonal
practice. For each season I set the table
with a new centerpiece—the ceramic
African guinea hen for autumn, for
A set table says,
“Welcome.” It says,
“We are waiting for
you.” It says, “We
instance, surrounded by candles and clay
pumpkins, artificial pears and persim-
mons and with field grasses and stem-
dried flowers accenting the arrangement.
This stays up until after Thanksgiving
when we set the Christmas table.