October Granny Camp 2023 by Katie McCollow

Hello, fine readers of impeccable taste! 

Yesterday marked the fifth or sixth gathering of the HOB-sponsored Granny Camp. Maybe seventh, I don’t remember—I can’t be expected to do math on top of all the other duties I perform around here. 

What do you mean by that, Katie? What exactly do you do around here? 

The answer is nothing, but this isn’t about my shortcomings, it’s about Granny Camp, so if you could please refrain from the rude outburst and let me finish, that would be great. 

Granny Camp is the brainchild of our fearless leader Elizabeth, who wanted to emulate the gatherings our mothers and grandmothers had when we were growing up— they’d get together with their friends for afternoons of food, coffee, handiwork and jaw-flapping.

And cigarettes- so many cigarettes, balanced on elegant, cut crystal ashtrays… it was a different time, and the cigarettes have been abandoned along with the dessert-plate-sized campaign buttons that seemed always to adorn the lapels of our forewomen. The ladies of our childhoods knew the art of not letting a robust political debate interfere with a friendship. 

Also, the word ‘Granny’ is not meant to exclude anyone who is not a grandmother, a mother, or any other type of non-procreating human, it’s meant with respect and cheeky fun, and it rolls off the tongue well. 

Anyhoo, once every so often as scheduling allows, Elizabeth opens her beautiful home and lays out a scrumptious spread of food for a rotating gaggle of participants who lounge on her overstuffed furniture and work on whatever projects they have going— needlepoint is definitely the most popular choice but knitting, crocheting, embroidery, quilting and photo-organizing have all made appearances. At a beta-phase meeting, someone pulled out a miter saw, but it was noisy, and no one appreciated the sawdust on the popovers.

I never bring anything because I don’t do any of those things and I don’t want to learn them, and that’s okay! I appreciate those talents very much—heck, I designed needlepoint canvases for years, I just never became a stitcher. I can do a bit of sewing, stuff like mending seams and attaching buttons, and I almost brought a small project with me yesterday but decided patching the blown-out crotch of my husband’s sweatpants should be done privately. I like to keep it classy.

So I just hung out and offered a running commentary of nonsense, stuffed my maw with treats, and tried on a few delights from Elizabeth’s closet. Granny Camp is a fluid and evolving organism, open to new ideas (as long as there are no loud motors involved) and not at all exclusionary to those, like me, who really bring nothing to the table.  

I always leave feeling inspired and happy, and that’s the ultimate point. The House of O’Brien encourages you to start a Granny Camp of your own, and we’d love to hear about it in the comments. 

elizabeth@thehouseofobrien.com

HAPPY CAMPING!!

Zoe François Chocolate Chip Cookies-Tap here for recipe

Zoe François Apple Bourbon Cake- Tap here for recipe

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