December 23, 2002

After The Ball is Over

Having a party has something in common with an iceberg, and also with teaching a class: seven-eights are invisible, under-the-surface preparation. The lecture, or the party is the small, easy part. In this case, the investment was well worth the reward. The gathering last night was really a lot of fun, and I was sorry to see it end. We're already planning a late spring wing-ding.

Some comments and observations from last night...

Standing-room-only capacity of this house/bottom floor/in winter: however many we had in here last night. Had all invited shown up, it would have triggered a lottery mechanism in which three couples would sit in their cars until called for their turn to rotate through (cup of hot cider provided). Summer: increase capacity by 100% or more, with overflow onto the porches and yard.

Host participation: If you are host or hostess, you will not eat nearly as much as the average guest. You will be too busy talking, cleaning up behind folks, replenishing dip and chips, and trying to cross pollinate conversation between strangers. The next day, your wife will say "did you like the macadamia blueberry cheesecake?" and you will not have any idea what she is talking about. And the night of the party, you will go to bed hungry, too exhausted to eat when you finally get the chance.

On How Much is Enough: Ann will always overguess how much beer or wine will be consumed at the party. So, when purchasing, be sure to get something Fred likes, since he will be responsible for disposal of any surplus.

Music: Some if it fair; all of it fun. Two guitars, an autoharp, banjo and fiddle. Lineup as it evolved: Carter Family; Jimmy Rogers; some old shape note gospel; and the ever-popular End of the World song written by Nathan and coreographed, with sound effects, by Fred. Also appearing: the two munchkins ages 6 and 8 who spontaneously favored us with a couple of duets.

Favorite words overheard: "It has been such a pleasure meeting you. Please stop by our house sometime. We'd love to get to know you better". The serrendipitous affinities that spring up between two sets of friends, strangers to each other before and friends to each other after your party is a most gratifying by-product. You never know ahead of time who will click with who; often the bonds that form are quite surprising and the web of association can mature into a network of friends. That would be a nice change.

Kodak Moment: During the peak of the hooting and so-called singing, eight year old Madonna steps stage center and announces "I'm not going to sing this time. I am going to say something, some Bible verses I learned". And after some brief moments of eye-squinting toward the corner of the room where she could see the memorized verses, she commenced, in total self-posession and poise, pausing only occasionally to peek up at the corner for the next verse. The cacophony of party chatter hushed; you could almost see the shaft of light illumine the little angelic messenger. The passage about the shepherds especially animated her expressive tiny voice, with a cresendo at the word "terrified".

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.

Wow.

Kodak Comment: During the music, Jean brought out the autoharp and we were fishing around for simple songs to sing, being simple musicians. We got to talking about rounds, and Jean offered that one beautiful but simple round appropriate for this time of year would be Dona Nobis Pacem. Totally serious, low-church Jennie retorts "what kind of a song is Donna No Peach Possum?" I will never be able to hear this melody again without thinking of marsupials.


Posted by fred1st at December 23, 2002 09:46 AM | TrackBack
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