ALL ABOARD | Just for fun, try to guess who’s coming to dinner

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This past Monday I saw a TV promo for NBCs “Today” show which was to feature interviews with Hillary Clinton and Rush Limbaugh on the same program.

But not at the same time, thank goodness.

This reminded me of a parlor game my Aunt Rosie taught me many years ago when we were both living in Missouri, pronounced Miz-ER-uh.

The game is an imaginary one, involving only pen or pencil and paper.

What 10 people, living or dead, would you invite over for dinner, if you could pick anyone you wanted, relatives not included?

When I made my first list more than 40 years ago, I recall those imaginary invitations being delivered to Benny Goodman, Abe Lincoln, Jackie Robinson and Natalie Wood.

At my age now, I might have to have seating assignments to assure the safety of Ms. Wood.

Other names I recall listing were Gandhi, Jesus, Thomas Edison and Jerry Lewis.

Don’t you know that would be an interesting foursome for bridge?

What would I serve?

Would candlelight be rude to Mr. Edison?

Who would you invite over for dinner?

Why?

Menu aside, and camaraderie not being factored, I think I would like to have dinner with people that

I knew enough about to ask questions.

Unlike other dinner parties I may have dominated, this one would not be about me.

In fact, why should I even wear a name tag?

Given my life-long admiration of Jackie Robinson, there is no doubt he’s still coming over for dinner.

No guess who on Jackie!

I’ve got to stick with Goodman if for nothing else than to find out if he was as difficult as his sidemen proclaimed.

When Mom helped me corner Benny outside his stage door one cold Columbus, Ohio night for

an autograph, I was 12 years old, barely taller than Goodman’s knee cap.

To me, he looked like a king in a herringbone overcoat.

Who cares what his sidemen thought?

This year, if possible, I would invite Ichiro over to join us for dinner. Imagine the conversations he and Jackie would have.

I guess I’ll have to feed Ichiro’s translator, so that only leaves me six more chairs.

My friend Don, down on the North Umpqua River outside Glide, Ore. might suggest I fill four seats real quickly with the Beatles.

I’m not sure about Ringo and Gandhi.

Maybe I’ll need to seat Gandhi next to George.

Maybe I should just have Jesus and Gandhi over for brunch and not mess up the dinner party trying to keep everyone quiet for the prayer.

With two seats to go, I am realizing that, so far, there are no women involved.

Does this say something about me or the fact that my Pal Jennifer and I are celebrating 26 years of non-conjugal bliss?

Given that I want the dinner to be festive, yet comfortable, I better invite Perry Como.

If the bluest skies he’s ever seen are in Seattle, Perry ought to love Freeland.

That leaves one chair.

What are you doing next Saturday night?

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