By Paula Marcoux.
By all appearances, my paternal grandmother, Yvonne Simard Marcoux (known as “Mimi” throughout the second half of her long life), lived to entertain. A surprise visit always revealed a house of immaculate cleanliness and order, the African violets perfectly centered on their doilies, every cushion in its place. Mimi would exclaim in joy to see us (as though we had arrived from a distant planet rather than a nearby suburb) and instantly offer Manhattans and Martinis to the grown-ups (already mixed in pitchers in the “icebox!” Miraculous! How did she know?) and ginger ale for us kids. Somehow gold-rimmed Lenox dishes of mixed nuts and potato chips would appear on the glossy coffee table, along with crackers and cheese (the latter pre-cut into perfect rectangles by an unseen hand). Coats went in the hall closet, conversation began to flow, and within minutes, it was a party.