Published Sunday, January 06, 2013

How to throw a party

There are certain individuals considered Zen masters when it comes to throwing a party to be remembered.

The Little Black Dress is in that league; one who can turn a simple “let’s get together” into a coronation.

For those who know her, that last sentence is about as obvious as saying water is wet. When she is in the zone, I have hid the dogs to save them from being part of the theme. That’s especially true when spray paint is involved.

It had been a while since we had thrown a party. It was time. All we needed was a theme.

Hello John’s birthday.

Said event later to be called the 50 Plus 1 Bash. Fortunately, it was right after Christmas, so we were covered in terms of decorations. Although somehow I still seemed to hang up various items of stuff that was repainted or redesigned or spruced up or whatever.

So we have a reason, not that The Dress actually needs one, but it made things simpler. But what to serve?

The emails went out. It was to be a slice of Italian - everyone was to bring a sampling of their favorite Italian dish. To top it off, we were also making homemade pizzas with everyone pitching in their favorite toppings.

The big question, as true for any adult function, was what to do with the precious snowflakes.

We left that decision up to the respective parental units. The three SONs were going to be around, so let fall what may. The only thing we suggested was if kids were coming, bring a babysitter.

Used to be the babysitter was the teen-ager down the street. We’ve advanced, or degraded, where kids’ new guardians are plugged in, charged up and downloaded. Sally, Jimmy and Cathy are replaced by iPod, PS3 and Nook.

As one mom told the munchkins as they arrived, they had two choices: if they couldn’t handle it with us in the real world, we would send them to the virtual world. As expected, they were not long for this world.

I apologize to anyone living nearby whose Internet seemed a wee bit slow a few days ago. With 15 kids on various wi-fi devices, we probably needed our own special Internet line to keep everyone up. At one point I went up to check on the horde. The only light came from the television screen where a movie played; that plus a myriad of handheld electronics. I miss Sally and Jimmy and Cathy.

We started with the pizzas. My choice was one with a pesto sauce base, mozzarella, cajun sausage, tomatoes and baby shrimp. Next up was a smorgasborg of every kind of pasta with just about every kind of flavors. Pretty much heaven on earth.

And afterward, The Dress and I handled out pieces of paper to everyone. A new year was coming up, time to let go of whatever was holding us back. So everyone humored us, some asked for more paper. And we wrote down the bad stuff, the stuff we didn’t want to take with us into the new year.

And we all gathered around the big bonfire pit. An aside, Eldest SON and I are pretty much experts at building fires. But with all the rain, we might have well tried to light water. You could wring the wood out like a towel. We tried everything. And finally we had to break all the Boy Scout rules. Lighter fluid can, at times, come in very handy. And yeah, it pretty much took the entire can.

But we got it lit and more importantly, got it to stay lit.

As we stood around the bonfire, I read the column that started our tradition of burning stuff - http://justflipthedog.com/2012/09/sundays-column-two-chairs-two-views/ .

And everyone laughed at the appropriate times. And everyone got quiet at the appropriate times. And afterward, we threw our little pieces of paper in the fire. And then they sang Happy Birthday to me.

And then we went in for dessert.

And once again, The Dress threw a party to remember.

(John A. Winters is a staff writer for The Newnan Times-Herald. His personal blog is at justflipthedog.com . You can reach him at john@newnan.com .)

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