Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Party, Party!

Back when my parents still lived in Chicago, they belonged to something called the "Tau Club", or as I called it the towel club. At the time I had no idea what it was all about, and to this day I still don't, but every summer after they moved to the suburbs my parents would have a giant lawn party for all the Tau Club members. This was the social event of the year in our neighborhood, and required weeks of planning. My dad would borrow every available picnic table from up and down the street, until our backyard was full with two long lines of tables like a German beer garden. In further preparation, the garage was cleaned out of all useless, un-needed things, swept clean and hosed out. The purpose of cleaning the garage was to create a bar and dance floor. I can still see my dad sprinkling salt on the floor for easier foot movement and trying it out with a little soft shoe. Finally on the evening of the event, the backyard aglow with Chinese lanterns, the guests would start arriving, and for hours I would lay in my bed listening to all the adults out in the yard having a good time, drinking, dancing, and laughing. Now that I'm an adult, I hate big parties like that, and I have never felt at ease at a large party, even if the party is at my house.

A couple of months ago Mark informed me that we would be having a party on Memorial Day. Just a small get together, with some burgers and beer. "Everyone can bring their swim suits and we'll make it a pool party.", Mark told me. "Honestly, it won't be a big crazy party."

Mark's problem is that he never knows how to moderate things. His little parties always go way over the top. One Fourth of July he had a buffet table set up that looked like something straight out of Las Vegas. This party would be no different. What started out as just burgers, almost immediately ballooned into an extravaganza of barbequed meats. Smoked pulled pork, slow smoked brisket, grilled chicken, hamburgers, and finally hotdogs, were all on the menu. Mark's famous macaroni and cheese, baked beans, watermelon salad, and about a dozen other dishes rounded it out. All of course were prepared to perfection and tasted great.

I do have to admit, for once I had a great time, as did most of the guests. The one strange thing is that this was a pool party, and even though I went to great lengths to make sure the pool was in perfect shape, nobody went swimming, at all! I take that back, some guests were swimming. From all the empty beer cans, vodka, and rum bottles, it is obvious that somebody was swimming. Just not in the pool.


  1. The deck looks great as does the food. I've had Mark's cooking and it is fantastic. Wish I could have been there and swam with your other guests.

  2. Thanks Alan for your "memories" of mom and dad in their younger more social-as-a-couple times. Really, picturing that gives me a whole different take on them as people. A wholly different view than the one I experienced at the end of the line...
    As for your's and Mark's shin dig... well knowing Mark's cooking I wish I was there!!!

  3. Next time set up an internet cam so those of us with cameras can join in remotely and interacting with everyone. It would be a hoot! Call it an Alan-Cam party.

  4. What a great idea Garet! That would be so ace!!!

    Can I get a glass of wine Al? :D

  5. Alan, do you remember the parties when our room (the 3 oldest kids shared for a time before the attic in the cape cod was "finished") was what eventually became the dining room? Remember standing at the window looking out at the magical partyland of lights and laughter? I LOVED the paper chinese lanterns!!