24 October 2016. The darker it gets, the more we feel like holing up with friends, some bites, and a good beer. For some reason, going out feels less appealing when the sun sets at 4:30pm. Under the guise of being generous, we announce we'll host, but we know it's actually selfish. We quietly greet guests at the door, not wanting the neighbors to know that there will be some boozy Bananagrams taking place. We lead our friends into the living room, where the pillows have been propped up and refluffed. Throws are folded and stacked, at the ready for any guest's momentary chill.
At a low table nearby, we have a selection of bites ready. Small, tasty snacks that don't require a lot of preparation, but that will keep everyone sated. Salty, buttery crackers are spread with a smooth, mellow cheese, while a bowl of crunchy grapes sits nearby. Frozen pigs-in-a-blanket debut fresh from the oven. Nuts and some cut-up vegetables round out the table. Nothing takes much effort, and no one feels underfed.
These little gatherings are our bread and butter through the colder months. They keep us going, keep the laughter and tears flowing, make us hearty enough to brave the outdoors, the moments when we step outside and the insides of our nose freeze. With zippers biting at the underside of the chin, we stomp through the snowy dusk, keeping that feeling of warmth alive and just under the surface, ready to spill forth at a moment's notice.