Friday, June 15, 2012

Celebrated Out

Yesterday my nephew, Ryan Roop, graduated from high school. This was a big deal. Graduating from high school is a milestone, one of the three or four most remembered events of your life...like your wedding day, the birth of your child, your baptism, your first IRS audit. So, it was fitting and proper that we celebrate the thing as a family. For logistical reasons, the soiree took place in my back yard. 25-30 people gathered back there on a beautiful night for a picnic. There were folding tables and folding chairs, camp chairs, two appetizer tables, a drink table, a gift table, a bright red blanket on the ground filled with toys and games for the little ones, a red-neck golf game set up back by the fence, citronella candles ablaze and a "Congrats Grad" banner cheerfully hung at the gate. As the adults sat around talking and the kids tormented the dog, Ron was busy grilling  what seemed like a bushel basket of freakishly large chicken breasts..for the second time. Yes, you see, ever the planner, Ron had done a "preliminary grilling" of these beasts the night before to speed up the process. Now he was finishing the job. I was flitting around from table to table making sure the appetizers were plentiful and in the right places. There were chips and salsa, chips and bean dip, fruit-kabobs- that labor intensive treat that no summer picnic can be without, and cranberry-lime spritzers. Once the chicken was ready, I was in charge of consolidating the two appetizer tables into one to make way for the main course of twice-grilled chicken along with homemade macaroni and cheese, baked beans, 125 homemade rolls, potato salad, Greek salad, macaroni salad, the salad that cannot be named, and 6 gallons of sweet tea.

Once everyone had loaded up there clear glass plates ( plates that because they weren't made out of paper had to be WASHED AFTERWARDS!!!!!!!!!), Paula stood up to say a few words about the graduate. She read two letters that had been written to him by two of his teachers. They were moving and heart-felt and reminded us all of the enduring power of influence and the incalculable value of a great teacher. After the meal there was cake and ice cream. Through all of this Molly only threw up once.

I must here freely admit that I am exhausted. I am celebrated out. This party planning stuff is brutal work. The majority of it fell upon Pam and for the past two days she has had a cold, popping Advil Cold and Sinus like an addict, and she never missed a beat. Whoever claimed that women are the "weaker sex" has never met my wife. But seriously, I'm kind of done with celebrations. In the past month I have participated in uproarious celebrations for Kaitlin's birthday, Patrick's birthday, our 28th wedding anniversary, Mother's Day, Ryan's birthday, and Ryan's graduation. It's as if I can't possibly make it through a week without being forced to memorialize some important milestone in someone's life. And now Sunday is Father's Day. Of course, there are three of us in my world, my Dad, Pam's Dad and me. That's a lot of paternal celebrating. Sunday night there will be a snack supper over at Mom and Dad's where we will all finish eating the food left over from last night. But my girls know me so well. Here's what they came up with for MY Father's Day party. Pam and Kaitlin and Jon are taking me and Russ to a Flying Squirrels game Saturday night!! Now, THAT''S what I'm talking about. Awesome ballpark food, warm beer and Double-A baseball, with no cleanup required. Perfect. Happy Father's Day to me!