Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Summer Parties....

This is a column from last year that I haven't shared with you reflects the activities of the day and the time of year that seems to have finally arrived....summer!

I love throwing a party.   

I love staying up really late the night before, dipping strawberries in chocolate and garnishing platters until my back is broken and I rise from my task, a cross between Martha Stewart and Groucho Marx.   

I love making lists, deciding on menus and sending out all the invitations at once with this new-fangled device called a computer. I love the last minute trips to the supermarket and the sojourn to Costco where, especially before big holidays, the camaraderie between shoppers equals that between soldiers in foxholes.
I am writing this the day before July fourth and, actually, was at Costco today. If anyone else was there, too, you know that the lines stretched from the check-outs to the rotisserie chickens in the back but, nonetheless, the atmosphere was festive.  

I realized that I had forgotten an item upon noticing it another shopper’s cart and had to argue with her as she good-naturedly tried to force me to take hers. Stories were exchanged between those waiting, with our towering carts piled high with giant bags of Asian snack mix and plastic tubs of Brownie Bites. 

We compared notes about the longest line we, as hardened shoppers, have ever endured, trading war stories of how we survived—writing letters home, scratching calendars into the wall and ticking off the days--as we waited to reach the register. We all agreed, with feigned bitterness and knowing nods, that this might very well be the longest line in the history of the universe.
I love coming home and organizing my purchases, shaping them into the appetizers and dishes they were intended to be. I love phoning my friends and asking, as if I’ve never asked before, to borrow a cooler or some plastic chairs. I love the self-righteousness that all this work allows me around the house, at least for a few days. After all, I say to my family, “this is hard work!”  Meanwhile, it may be work but it’s for a party, for goodness sake. By definition, that makes me one lucky lady.
As we all know, the weather has been very challenging lately. We have gone, for several weeks, from bright sun to torrential rain in a matter of minutes but tomorrow is supposed to be dry and, one of my favorite words ever—breezy.   

We’ve all been cooped up for weeks and the recession has kept many of us close to home so tomorrow, with the Fourth falling on a Saturday, I suspect that it will be the “perfect storm” of entertaining.  I am concerned that the combined grill-smoke from all the cook-outs in the northeast corridor may well punch another hole in the ozone and Al Gore will make a new movie about it. Hopefully, he will wipe the ketchup from his upper lip before he steps to the podium to accept his next Nobel Prize.
I love the morning of the party.  There’s that little nervous flutter that accompanies inviting people to your home.  What if I suddenly lose my memory and forget what to do when everyone arrives? What if I have the day wrong and the party is really tomorrow? What if, this year, Brad Pitt finally shows up but insists on bringing that skinny nutjob he’s been hanging around with lately?

You know--the completely normal anxieties that any hostess experiences before the fun starts.
I love that my sons’ friends come, too. Our summer parties are almost two separate events. We’ve all been together for quite a while now and it’s always been the older generation up on the deck, near the food and bathrooms and the kids below on the grass. They still do what they did when they were little—play wiffleball, except now there are lots of pretty girlfriends to cheer them on and, as of this year, one new wife and, the best part—a baby, too. 
I love it when it gets dark and the familiar summer smell of citronella joins the day’s aromas. I love the hanging lanterns and the dessert table and the general din of all the voices and I love standing at my kitchen window watching it all. 

They don’t notice me.  

It seems as if  I’m just washing a few dishes to try to get ahead of the clean-up but I am really taking it all in.  Summer parties.  Friends.  Family.  An occasional firefly showing off in the darkness beyond the line of noise and laughter. 

Honestly, who could ask for anything more?  Not me.
I would definitely buy this.


  1. You are a much nicer person than me!
    I love all that too, but when it comes to the actual party, I'm so tired I just want everyone to go home!!! Hardly the hostess-with-the-mostest :-)
    And, are you a Grandma?? I didn't know!!
    Congratulations - how lovely xxx

  2. It takes me about a full week to recover, Janet.

    Not a grandma yet! The baby (now two babies) belongs to a friend of my son's--so we have entered a new generation.