How to set the table
In order to spread your best tablecloth neatly on the big table you will need assistants. You will stand at one end of the table, unfold the cloth and fling your arms up and forward to loft the cloth smoothly over the surface of the table. Your assistants will catch the other end and help you center it evenly on the table top.
Then you and your assistants should carefully smooth all possible wrinkles and creases out of the cloth. It was at this point that I fired both of my assistants. Undaunted, they continued to add their own personal touches to the setting. Silverware kept winding up on the floor. (It makes such a splendid sound when it hits the hardwood.) I had to cover the butter with upended bowls to prevent the dreaded tongue prints. Was there a paw print or two on the plates? If my guests are looking that close, they are being way too fussy. Halfway through the meal, Pepper jumped up on the table and streaked the length of it, giving it one final check as she went. I yelled at her as she flew past and she stopped to look over her shoulder as if to say, "What?" with that adloescent tone of voice we all recognize.
And, like all teens, they disappeared when it was time to do the dishes.