Saturday night was my annual Summer Party, held this year on the coolest July 18th on record for the City of Minneapolis. I think the day's high didn't reach 70.
I've had a summer get together pretty much every year for the last 25 years or so.
The lists and the things on the list necessary for a party are many. We plotted. We bought. We moved. We lifted and iced. We scrubbed the usual and then we scrubbed the areas that hadn't seen a damp rag since the last party.
And then there was food. Oh, the food. I believe in lots of it, and the bulk of it made at home. So many wonderful friends bring bowls and bowls of food, offerings of meat for the grill.
By 5:00, the kitchen table and counters, the card tables outside were covered with platters and bowls of food. The pickle roll-ups were gone in an hour. The taco dip didn't last much longer than that, primarily owing to a particularly enthusiastic fan who stood at the table and almost single-handedly finished it.
Come on, man! Put it on a plate and let other people take a crack at it!
All in all, though, I think one of the many ways the party can be accurately described is as follows:
Reba, Rainy, and I are standing in the kitchen. It's 2:30 a.m. and Reba absolutely cannot get over the fact that it's 2:30 a.m. and she's still awake, she's been going to bed by 9:00 every night for the last two years, she's having such a good time and oooh look at all the food.
Reba has a touch of the ADHD.
And that's when we found ourselves at that stage in the evening when, if you're at a well-stocked party, you come face to face with the food still available in the kitchen. And in drunk and disorderly fashion, we met this dietary challenge by reaching for plastic forks.
For several moments, there is just the sound of us grazing on cold fried chicken, hummus, a black-bean-and-corn salsa, Chinese cole slaw...
For no real reason, Reba and I look up to watch Rainy, a 28-year-old woman who looks like an angel. She has twisted a large knot of a cold spaghetti salad onto her fork. She manages to get her teeth around it, minus the strands dangling from her lips. She looks at us, smiling.
Reba looks at her and says, "You know, I gotta really applaud your efforts there, Lorraine. That's a whole lot of food you just crammed into your mouth. Way to go."
We all looked at each other in a moment of silence and then roared with laughter. We laughed for the next 10 minutes, playing off it, admiring each other's commitment to clearing the dishes, and eventually poor Lorraine collapsed onto the kitchen floor. We laughed until tears ran down our faces.
And that's how I would describe Saturday night.
The last of the guests left at 4:30.
And Sunday evening, my friends, at the time of this writing? I feel fine. To tell you the truth, I feel fabulous. Because you know what I learned Saturday? I learned that when the opportunity to laugh long and loud comes up, you should throw everything you have at it.
Happy Monday, everyone.
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