Saturday, August 25, 2007
A Perfect Night
Home from Ireland, I found myself in the throes of creating an engagement party for my son Ben, and his fiance, Abbigail.
So, I've been doing less writing and more preparing for forty guests. The party was last Saturday night. It had all the elements that I love in a party: an eclectic group of people that all have something in common ( in this case, having touched Ben sometime in his lifetime); a great night ( 75 degrees, low humidity ); a romantic setting ( my lawn in the country with Christmas lights, garden lighting, and lanterns on each of the seven tables ); good food ( the caterer outdid herself ); plenty of good wine and beer; and music ( my old friend, John McCullough on keyboard and his colleage, Ace, on bass).
The guests arrived at 6pm. The last ones left at 1am. Abbi's parents were there, along with her sister, her grandmother and her aunt. My sister and her husband came from the midwest, her daughter from Sarasota. My loyal college friends arrived--Betsy and her husband came from Massachussetts and Ann from Minneapolis. Friends who knew me and Ben from the time he was three arrived from Maryland to see the boy grown up.
At on point as the night began to take on a life of its own, I walked away from the tables of laughing friends and just watched all of them having a good time. I watched Ben and Abbi, arms draped loosely around one another's backs, talk to Ben's high school buddy, John who then was a bit of a harmless rascal, and is now the father of two and a researcher. I watched my sister listen to our cousin from Colorado who she grew up with, talk about what had happened in the 15 years since they'd seen one another. I watched one table of four who had been strangers a few hours before, and now were regalling the fact that they were all liberals---talking politics with unfettered glee.
Ben and Abbi cut the cake that was a replica of the event invitation. They opened their gifts. They laughed some more.
At some point the next day, I watched the tired soon-to-be-weds stealing a quiet moment, their heads resting on the back of the loveseat. " I know there's alot going on, and you are exhausted," I began. "But this is the good news: For the next weeks until your wedding day, for perhaps the only time in your life, a hundred people are trying to do anything at all to make you happy. So try to enjoy it."
Come to think of it, I guess the hundred people revel in seeing them happy. That's the point of doing things for someone you love, isn't it?