Six Bowls and My Book Group

by Claudia Fuller


Marilyn Gregory, Carol Huber, Lorinda Kay holding the empty bowl

One of my joys is to be an original member of the book group, South Whidbey Read and Feed. We have met monthly for over 15 years in the home of Christi Ruscigno. Members have come and gone, but we have steadfastly followed some rules. Rule #1 “you don’t have to read the book” and Rule #2, “bring good food and drink.”In December we bring poetry to share as well as a white elephant gift. We start off by sharing food and catching up on our lives.


The bowl filled with quinoa

This year I made a quinoa pilaf with dried apricots, pistachios and mint and served it in the beautiful blue bowl from the Six Bowls project.


Melissa Young listens while Jo Marie Richman reads a poem

After we finished our sumptuous meal we picked numbers out of a hat. Number 1 (me) read a poem to the group. We continued around the circle, sharing poetry as our number came up. It was opportune that one of our members, Melissa Young, had forgotten to bring a poem. She read the two poems that accompanied our bowl, one by Judith Walcutt and the other by David Ossman.


Bonnie Cook sits amongst the white elephant gifts

Poetry was followed by white elephant gifts. Since I was Number 1, I unwrapped one of the gifts. Number 2 could then either take my unwrapped gift or pick one to unwrap. This process continued around the circle accompanied by much laughter, hiding of good gifts while those with less desired gifts cried, “take this gift, PLEASE.” As #1, at the end of the unwrapping I got to survey the room and take whatever gift I wanted. I was pretty thrilled. Mostly, however, I was delighted to be part of a long standing tradition – a group of beloved women gathering to laugh and enjoy each other’s company.


Christi Ruscigno models a scarf and bow from her white elephant choice (which I ultimately stole from her)


Carol Huber and Cathy Stacey enjoy our feast


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