Ringing That Dinner Bell

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So the question of the week over at Southern Belle View is “If you could have dinner with anyone, who would you invite?” Totally hop over there and read the awesome guest line-ups from Rachel Hauck, Lisa Wingate, Beth Webb Hart, and Marybeth Whalen. I'm on tap for today, and it's a total repeat of this.

I love this question because my answer changes every time I answer it. First of all, let me get the menu out of the way.

Iced tea. No sugar. Sue me.
Salad to begin with. (With those cute little dried cranberries and homemade ranch dressing.)
Steak, medium well
Fried okra
My mom's homemade mac-n-cheese
Strawberry pie
(I'd like this brought out first, now that I think about it. I want to be a good host…)


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1. Carol Burnett. Most of y'all know I would die if I got to spend even ten seconds in her presence. Carol is my hero. She's the queen of sketch comedy, and every woman at SNL owes their careers to her. I grew up watching the Carol Burnett Show in reruns. My favorite thing was when they got cracked up. Tim Conway never laughed, but he was often the source of them losing their composure. Like here.

I would love to talk to Ms. Burnett about her life (her biographies are great), how humor must've played a part in it. I would tell her that watching her influenced my life, that I grew up to teach drama and write comedy. I would also tell her that I was greatly disappointed I was not cast in the 1982 movie version of Annie and I still know all the words to every song. You're never fully dressed without a smile! I would also tell her that she always reminded me of my grandmother, with her balance of wit and intelligence, her zippy comebacks and perfect timing, her tone of voice and her funny facial expressions. Ironically my grandmother never cared for Carol Burnett, saying the woman was too crass. I always wanted to tell her, “She's not crass. . . she's you.”

2. Alice Roosevelt would be my next pick. She was the oldest of Theodore Roosevelt and quite a pistol. She was the only child of President Roosevelt and his first wife Alice, whom he loved dearly. On one terrible day, he lost both his wife and mother in law, leaving him alone with baby Alice. He was so distraught, so heartsick over the death of his wife, he would never speak of her, wouldn't allow her name to be mentioned, and would not call his daughter by her given name, but referred to her as Baby Lee. Alice went by this name well into her life. Alice was a trouble maker, a practical joker, and a woman of wit. Roosevelt didn't have much to do with young Alice and left her raising to others in the family, even after he remarried and had other children. I would love to talk to Alice about her abandonment issues and about my idea for putting her on her own reality show. Girl was a character! She could put those Real Housewives out of business! Despite a touch of childhood polio, Alice was able to run up the stairs and touch her nose with her toes at age 80. I can't even do that at 30-something. *she leaves to go try again…*

3. Steven Tyler and Aerosmith. Love Steven. He so crazy, y'all. I've been an Aerosmith fan forever. My favorite song is “What It Takes,” and when I hear it, it takes me back to a specific year (1989), specific place (track meet), and time in my life (high school) and the snack of the day (Keebler fudge sticks, thankyouverymuch). I was quite done with American Idol, having grown bored with it. But then I started hearing everyone talk about how unexpectedly good the new judges panel was, mostly because of Steven Tyler. So I tuned in. Omigosh, the guy is brilliant at it. Compassionate, quick on his feet, a people person with his eye on the human aspect of every contestant. And finally, FINALLY someone on the show who FEELS music.
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4. I'm cheating and providing a fourth. Condoleezza Rice. Condi is so crazy smart. And a musician. I would love to bend her ear and hear all her stories about life as the 66th Secretary of State, how she wasn't just an employee of the president, but his friend. No matter your politics, there is something so easy to respect about this quiet and refined woman.

5. To round out my cheating, might I offer a fifth and final entry, Joseph, father of Jesus. Don't you just have questions for this guy? Dude, who are you? Your wife would've had the reputation of a total floosie and outcast and you were her husband. Were you ostracized? How much did you doubt her? What was Christ like as a boy? When did you disappear? Why did you disappear? Are you sad that Mary has a starring role in the greatest book in the history of mankind and you are barely a footnote? Joseph…have another piece of pie and talk to us.

What about you? Who would make your list?
(All photos by Amazon)


Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 14 comments
Kristin - March 25, 2011

I would love to have supper with:

-C.S. Lewis. I just think he was so imaginative and intelligent. It would be incredible to talk to him. So he could tell me how to get to Narnia. =)

-Gene Kelly and/or Cary Grant. They’re both handsome, talented, and would have amazing stories about filming some of my favorite movies.

-Elvis. Seriously, supper with Elvis would be so much fun. I think he’d be really funny, you know we would have good food, and he could sing a song or two after we were finished. =)

-My grandpa. My grandpa had Alzheimer’s disease from the time I was about 4, and he had it for about 10 years. So I feel like I never really got to know him, because I was so little when he got sick. He might not be the most glamorous or talkative dinner guest, but I would love it anyway. =) And if he was there, my grandma would need to be there, too. I can’t think of one without the other.

~Kristin

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Jenny - March 25, 2011

My grandmother. She passed away in 2000, 5 months before I gave birth to my firstborn, a daughter. So many reasons. She was 93 and had not been the best mentally for many years. Therefore, my memories of her through my teenage and adult years are filled with much silence and confusion. My childhood memories of her are of things like homemade noodles, fig newtons (such a grandma cookie), hiding places in her creepy upstairs, a whole lotta family crammed in a house too small for Sunday lunches & holidays, and a garden the size of some people’s backyard. Her death, the actual moment of it had a profound impact on my life. In a nursing home, she slipped into eternity with Jesus while an old cassette of hymns playing in the background and a few of her kids and grandkids held vigil. Although my pregnancy was planned and my husband and I were happy, I was still coming to terms with being pregnant, how a baby was going to affect my life, that this was the next step Jesus had for me and not maybe the one I would have chosen (sounds horrible now as a mother of 3, but that is the truth). Once she was gone, it occurred to me that while only a handful of people outside our family knew her well, she was a mother to 11 children and influenced several generations after her. Suddenly my call to motherhood seemed like the most important calling I could ever receive, partly because it was the same one she had. So many times as a mother I have wished to know her in my adult life so I could ask her what it was like to raise all those kids with one car & no indoor plumbing, to lose 2 babies, how in the world she kept from peeing her pants every time she sneezed after baby # 5 or so, did she ever have a dream she sacrificed for motherhood and what was it, what would she do differently, and to tell her that I think she was amazing and produced the best mom I could have ever asked for. Sorry so long. Even if none of you made it to the end of my answer and were skimming responses for fun ones, this has been a good way for me to regroup and remember what is important this morning.

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Lisa Carter Sweet Tea with a Slice of Murder - March 25, 2011

I’d want to have dinner with Audrey Hepburn. To me, she was one of the most beautiful, elegant, classy women to ever grace Hollywood. And because of her war-torn childhood, had a great, compassionate heart for the hurting.
On a lighter note, dinner with Mike Rowe—he’s funny. And also Sawyer of Lost—fascinating bad boy. On a spiritual note, Billy Graham. And another fellow North Carolinian, Andy Griffith. Who doesn’t wish they lived in Mayberry?

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ashley - March 25, 2011

ok i am going to write these down as the come to mind, so this is who i want to eat with right.this.second.

DJ Pauly D from the Jersey Shore. I love him. I think he and I could be together foreva’.

Will Ferrel. I would die from laughter.

Sara Bareilles. I love her. End of story.

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Jennie - March 25, 2011

~ I would love to meet C.S. Lewis! He was a major influence in my childhood. Even now that I am in college I still love to read his books. His personal life, especially his conversion to Christianity is beautiful. (Also if I could just step back in time and sit through a meeting of the Inklings that would be awesome!)

~ I would also like to have dinner with my mom’s parents because they both died before I was born. Many people have stories about them and I always wished that that I had some too.

~ I would also like to meet Queen Esther because that girl’s got gumption and a strong faith in God.

~ I also want to meet David Tennant because he is my “fake crush” except I would probably get all tongue tied or faint in a not very cute manner. So maybe I don’t want to meet him…

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Erin - March 25, 2011

I would love to have dinner with Anne Frank, Mary, mother of Jesus, and Laura Ingalls Wilder. They all have such fascinating stories, and were all my age-ish when those stories took place. It’d be so cool to meet them and be able to talk with them.

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Amy - March 25, 2011

Those are the strangest answers I have ever heard to this question, Jenny. 🙂

1. Kristin Chenoweth. I think we all know why. I mean, we could sing, dance, talk, act out scenes from “Wicked.” It would be good fun. I’m pretty sure we would grab dinner and go shopping though. It just makes more sense.

2. Bebo Norman. Because he’s AMAZING to talk to.

3. You and Brandon Heath…in candlelight. *wink*

4. Henri Nouwen because he’s a personal hero.

And since you get to cheat, so do I…I’m gonna say those two guys from “American Pickers” or Neil Patrick Harris. I can’t really decide. If it ever comes down to it, you can choose for me, Jenny.

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Allie Smith - March 25, 2011

oh so many things come to mind…but im gonna go crazy and invite like a billion people!!!lol,jk
*J.R.R.Tolkien,i just did a report on him and had to read Lord of the Rings in the process.he’s amazing!!!he seriously paved the way for writers!!!it would be so inspiring to be able to tak to him!!!
*Jenny B. Jones,for obvious reasons!!!i look up to you and if i had the opoortunity to really get to talk to u…that would b awesome!!!
*Jake Gylennhaal,sigh…he seems like an amazing person!!!not to mention he’s drop dead gorgeous!!!so,ya…
*my grandma and grandpa,my mom says they’re amazing people and im alot like them.id love to be able to talk to them but i’ll hafta wait till i get to heaven!
*Frank Peretti.he’s great.
*any contemporary christian music singer…i love em all!!!

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Alli - March 25, 2011

OMGosh so many people! 🙂 But definately a DC Talk reunion dinner!

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Abbigail - March 25, 2011

Hmm…I would definitely pick Queen Esther. Two of the things I would ask her would be,
~What was it like to live in that time period?
~Now seeing this time period, what advice would you have for Christians about that-big-word: courage?

I would also pick my Great-Grandmother, whom I was named after. She died after I was born, but I was little, so I don’t remember much about her. I have a few sweet memories, like one Christmas, I think her last one, she decided she was going to go downstairs into the living room (just three steps, mind you) by herself for the family picture. My Grandma wouldn’t let her, and made one of my uncles sit her in her wheelchair and carry her down. She was grumpy for the next hour. I remember a few other things from stories that family members have told me, like how she never used a measuring cup when cooking. HOW DID SHE SURVIVE??? (I’m a perfectionist, all the way!) I never met her husband (my Great-Grandfather), he died before I was born, so maybe he could tag along too…I would love to hear about his life, ’cause I haven’t heard very many stories from family about him.

And the last person I would invite would totally be you, Jenny! 🙂 I have family in Arkansas, so I could even come up to you! 😀 My Grandma could host the dinner, great cook! And then she could see her mother again…I’d love to sit and chat with you for a few hours! Oh, and can I have a five-in-one packet? You know, all the belles from Southern Belle View? I love you girls and your books, and can hardly wait for October when your new book comes out Jenny!

-<3-Abbigail
P.S.-For the record, I wrote this before reading the rest of the comments. 😀 Came up with everything on my own…lol And also, if I could have a fourth (err… eighth?), definitely Toby Mac. Love the dude, and his music! Also a great role-model. Sorry for such a long answer! Thanks for suffering through it! 😀

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Rhonda - March 26, 2011

I love Jenny’s response (#2 above). I feel the same way about my paternal grandmother.
So, my three choices would be:
1. My grandmother–just to have more time with her. She was such an amazing person who lived through so much misery but had such a good attitude about life.
2. Helen Keller–what an inspiring woman! Most of us really have SO little to complain about in life. Really.
3. My father-in-law–he died when my husband was a toddler. I believe my husband is the man he is because of the combination of his mother’s raising and his father’s genes. I would love to have met him.
And the 4th would be my beautiful friend Fran who died too soon. I miss her every day.

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bookwyrm14 - March 27, 2011

Let’s see…my top people would be:

1. C.S. Lewis. My first favorite author! I know it’s been used before, but he is my role model. Literally. I have read every book he has written and have done at least six reports over him and/or his books.

2: Jenny B. Jones. My second favorite author! I love her books soooo much! I’ve read everything she has ever written! She brightens my day and I got all my friends hooked on her books too! 😀

3: Jesus Christ. Need I say more?

4: Chad Eastham. An amazing, charismatic Christian who speaks on teen relationships at Revolve Tour from Women of Faith every year. I was not-stalking him when my mom did-not-yell-out-his-name and did-not-make-him-take-a-picture-with-me. Yeah. So NOT awkward.

5: Eve. I’d have a heart-to-heart, girl-to-girl talk which I would begin by saying, “WHY DID YOU HAVE TO EAT THE STUPID APPLE!?!?!?!?! I BLAME YOU FOR MY MONTHLY CRAMPS!!!!!!! AND ALL THE OTHER SINS I DO!!!!!!!!!”

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Lance - March 28, 2011

I’m also going to cheat and divide it between personal, historical, and celebrity.

Personal: My grandfather, my grandmother (whom I never new), and their son (also whom I never knew).

Historical: Moses, George Washington, Patrick Henry, Winston Churchill

Celebrity: Don Shula

Jenny, I also can appreciate your choice in Carol Burnett. I have the same memories of watching reruns. The show was brilliantly done and she was hilarious–one of a kind.

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Abby Minard - March 28, 2011

LOVE Carol Burnett! My mom would always bring home tapes of sketch comedies like hers, The Smother’s Brothers, old SNL’s… Those were the good ‘ol days ;p

Lets see..my choice hands down would be Lady Gaga. I want to see what makes her tick, and I think she’s be a very interesting dinner date!

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