Sunday, May 06, 2007

A Rather Low-key Fiesta

My retirement party taught me a lot about myself and my friends and the reality of partying at 58. Everyone, with the exception of my young ex-boss and her husband who were off to India (whew!), came. They spent hours eating and talking. No one got even remotely inebriated. Then they all went home around 11:30.

Why did I ever thing I could recreate the May 5 party experience I had had when I was 24 and living in a group house? That party had been all about snack food, beer, loud music, some illegal substances, dancing, and sex. Everyone I know who was there still remembers the May 5th party.

Why did I even for a minute consider renting china and flatware and making this a “formal” dinner party? The people who came were more than happy to pile their plastic plates from Costco high with paella and ratatouille and salad and eat it all with sturdy plastic utensils.

Steve, I hate to tell you that there was no dancing. At around 10:30 I suggested that we could dance to some oldies. The group I was sitting with at the time looked at me like “You want to do what?” and suggested that David bring his iPOD and speakers into the room where we were sitting so we could LISTEN to oldies as background music. This was just not the dancing crowd, as some of you predicted would be the case.

I was actually glad I had spent the two days before the partying cooking as opposed to having it catered. It was cooking that was not pressured or hurried. I created a menu of special foods that I like a lot. On Saturday afternoon I had help from David and several friends who came early to help get everything ready. Angelina, the young woman who cleans our house, was there to keep the kitchen under control during the party. She did the lion’s share of cleaning up.

There were no speeches or toasting. Several people brought cards and bottles of wine and a few even brought gifts. But people tended to gather into 3 groups: the international office, the current office, and everyone else. There were old photo albums around and more recent photos that David had printed out. As people looked at pictures, they remembered stories and even argued about who was in some of the pictures. There was a lot of tripping down memory lane.

The whole evening was low-key and informal. Some people were snapping pictures as I posed with various groups. But in general, there was nothing structured at all.

My goal today is to find a home for leftovers we don’t need, for beer and Diet Coke we won’t drink. I slept in until well after 8:00 – a real accomplishment for me. Exercising, reading the Post and the NYT, a little Blogging, and some music with Deborah are all that’s on tap for today.

Tomorrow I will probably start making some serious lists of the endless possibilities for cleaning, travel, volunteering, classes. But today I’m practicing leisure.


Blogger Mother of Invention said...

I'm so glad everything went off without a hitch and that you could relax, eat, drink wine and enjoy! It's neat that you could just do it in your own house and have such god friends help! (I'm sure you'll be going on a trip before long!)friends My husband would have come over for leftovers!What was for dessert?

6:20 PM  
Blogger Golden Silence said...

"The people who came were more than happy to pile their plastic plates from Costco high with paella and ratatouille and salad and eat it all with sturdy plastic utensils."

It's not the dishes used, but the food that's on them that counts.

Glad you had a great time. Congratulations on your retirement. Enjoy yourself.

6:33 PM  
Blogger Reya Mellicker said...

It sounds just perfect. Bravo!

9:00 AM  
Blogger GEWELS said...

What? No drunken debauchery? That's 'cause I wasn't invited- there would have been dancing for sure.
Glad you had a good time.
And, it's only day 2 of your retirement- what's with the LIST already?

10:07 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

I continue to get messages that people had a good time. The party was actually everything I wanted it to be.

Gewels -- Next time you're coming and we will dance!

10:38 AM  
Blogger steve said...

"Well you know that you're over the hill
When your mind makes a promise that your body can't fill"

11:47 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Steve -- Let's face it, I am over the hill. But I am having such a good time going down the other side. And,yes, my mind makes promises all the time that my body doesn't have a hope of fulfilling. That doesn't seem to stop my mind from trying though.

12:05 PM  

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