I woke up in the middle of the night not long after the first conversation and thought, “What does RSVP stand for? Oh come on! Surely, I can remember.” I was sure I knew what it stood for but my recall isn’t what it used to be. There was a scary moment
where I thought I might have to start doing Swiss Phil’s sudoka puzzles to improve the old memory. Yikes! Tried those once, not a fan! Thank goodness for Google! As luck would have it, the morning was rushed so there was no Google time. There was time
for a browse through my trusty duct taped Webster though for a definition. And there it was the answer to my question-repondez s’il vous plait. No wonder I couldn’t remember what the letters stood for. It’s been a long time since French class. Webster’s
translation- please reply. How simple is that? You send out invites put RSVP on them and you’ll know exactly how many are coming, how much food to serve and seating to arrange. Maybe in a perfect world that happens but not in mine! Which made me wonder how
other people coped with RSVP’s.
So I asked a wide variety of people and the response to my question of “Do other’s respond to your RSVP’s and do you respond to RSVP’s you receive” ranged from unabashed “heck no but then I call at the last minute and see if I can still come” to much head
shaking with deep sighing followed by strong language. I even asked do you know what RSVP stands for and what it means? Here are some of those replies, “It’s French isn’t?” “um, tell the host if you are coming at least 2 days ahead” “call everyone you invited
and ask if they are coming and even then you won’t have a clue”. I also asked who is worst for RSVPing-friends or family. Evidently both groups are equal in numbers for non responding.
Then a friend asked during an evening conversation over adult beverages, “Well, what about you? Do you ask for RSVP’s so you know how many are coming?” My reply, “Oh sure but years ago I worked out a mathematical equation to help me determine how many
would show up. It’s only failed twice. Once when I didn’t know there was a fishing & bowling tournament the same day as my BBQ/birthday event. The other time the food got dangerously close to running out because I didn’t realize my brother hadn’t been feeding
his houseguests.” The last comment raised eyebrows so Ifelt the need to explain about the BBQ I had for my Mom’s birthday once. My brother asked if he could bring his houseguests also. “Sure. How many? Maybe 1 or 2. OK” BBQ’s seem easier to cope with these
unexpected number changes for some reason. You don’t have to be so clever trying to camouflage lawn chairs for extra last minute seating. Plus, I’d intended to serve brisket which usually can accommodate quite a few but I had chicken quarters I‘d picked
up on sale in the freezer. My BBQ Dude grills them very nicely so if I have leftovers no biggie. Also, I’ve found kids seem to prefer them to beef. So anyway that particular time I had 3 packages of quarters to grill. Hey, summer was just starting and back
then my “Whatever” teen was happy to eat chicken salad sandwiches so leftovers were welcomed. I ended up with no leftovers of anything that time since my brother had not 1 or 2 but 4 evidently very hungry houseguests. When it came time to put away the food
there was nothing to do except wash dishes. Voicing my surprise at the lack of leftovers, I was informed that my brother’s extra guests were responsible for the absence having consumed everything. I guess I shouldn’t have been too surprised after all these
poor people had been eating at the home of the woman that caused me to learn how to make pumpkin pies. I kid you not, after one particular Thanksgiving meal where she brought the “pumpkin” dessert, my husband sat in the car with his hands clenched to the
steering wheel. He refused to even turn the car on until he uttered this sentence, “I don’t care if you don’t like pumpkin pie. I don’t care if you have never made it. You have a whole year to learn how because I refuse to come to another Thanksgiving dinner
and eat that nasty excuse of a pie!!” I believe I mentioned in another blog his favorite pie is pumpkin.
So back to my equation. It’s:
RR + (KNR x 2) + (NSRBO x 3)= X
X + LMR = PG
PG / 2= TGA
RR=Received Responses LMR=Last Minute Responses
KNR=Known None Responders PG=Probable Guests
NSRBO=Non or Sometime Responding Relatives Bringing Others
TGA= Total Guests Attending
X=resulting amount of the first equation with lots of letters
For some reason my dear friend doubted my sincerity about the use of this equation or even that it worked. Eyebrows drawn into a frown she tallied the number of possible consumed beverages so I felt an even further explanation was needed. Granted even
with my formula there are no guarantees. Fans of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series will agree here that no matter how excellent your math projections might be computations can only carry you so far. It certainly helps to have certain facts in your possession
such as divorces, separations, work related issues, illnesses or if anyone is just having a bad day.
To defend my position that I actually had put some thought into this math I used 1 particular family(his side) as an example:
Invite with an RSVP to 1 matriarch(M) w/3(also invited with RSVP) grown children & 4 grandchildren = 4 invites that equals the possibility of 1,3,5,6,7,9 or 10 people coming. How do I figure the numbers? You’ve got 1 M, 1 child w/SO(significant other),
1 child & SO w/2 children, 1 child definite divorce no SO with the possibility of job interference w/2 children-this one is tricky to figure as the number could be 0,2 or 3. Either go for the median # which is 6 and perhaps have leftovers or use my equation
and still perhaps have leftovers.
1 RR(the M) + (4 x 3) = x
Worried about leftovers? Also invite busy hardworking friends who have no time to cook that are trained to bring their own containers. Concerned about not enough food. Always have expandable sides on hand that can either be opened & served, made in
20 minutes or less or that can be added to at the last minute - chips and dip of various kinds, jalapeno cream cheese corn (10 min), savory green beans(15 min), baked beans (who’s going to know if you add a can of beans?)
And there you have it. My version of how to cope with those RSVP’s.
I’ve also added some pictures of some holiday foods I’ve made this year and with that I wish you all a
MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY NEW YEAR!