For almost as long as I can remember we have been going to at least one party a year. There used to be many parties but a song comes to mind ‘there aren’t as many as there was a while ago.’
This is one of my favourite Yankee doodle songs that has stuck with me for at least as long as this annual Christmas party.
This party is now celebrating its thirtieth birthday. It is held by a good friend of whose friendship is even of greater vintage. By and large the same people turn up each year. It is amazing how it has endured, despite the many changes and moves that we all made during life’s journey. It seems trite to mention, but life does make for change. If not with partners it is by address. The one constant though is this annual party held by the same friends and at the same address.
As the years went by, our friendships endured even if most of us only just met at this single day. It’s as if a year lasts a single day. We greet, ‘oh how have you been?’ It gets the predictable, ‘ just been fine, thanks.’ ‘How have you been?’ We pour a drink and unload our offerings of home prepared dishes, all on a table specially prepared for our party. With the advancing years, an almost equal increase in hearing aids are now being carried. Some years, ago it was decided not to have any playing of music. The talk is what is really making the music. It is surprising how advancing years doesn’t make for declining talk. Au contraire, the talk increases, or so it seems to me. As we uncoil our yearly tales of woe and joy spring forth, the party gets going. Some years have been better than others, but overall we tend to laugh and banter about more than ever. Flirtatious behaviour, thankfully still lingers. Nothing too serious though. Just an acknowledgement that sex doesn’t relinquish itself with the growing years.
The food is consumed from paper plates as the crowd is still so large and mostly from uninhibited backgrounds that formality is kept at a minimum. Young at heart and still playful seems to be the general tone of this yearly event. With hearing devices there is also a couple of heart pace makers and one of the guests now carries white cane. She can generally get about alright inside, and away from the glaring sun. She plonked her white cane in the corner and always manages to get to the smoked turkey before anyone. Our contribution, also a yearly predictable offering, are the grilled chicken wings. I marinated them the previous night. A fair amount of chopped ginger, lots of chilies, garlic and Ketcap Manis. This year they were slightly overcooked but I noticed they went as quickly as ever. I always keep an eye out on how quick those chicken wings get taken by our friends. I suppose a bit of pride in making them doesn’t go astray.
And then as the afternoon knocks at around six o’clock, we take our leave. We have a long drive back. A goodbye ensues and the last bit of joviality now takes over. It has been a good party. It always is. We embrace and arm each other, share kisses. I scrounge a couple of fish-patties and gulp down a last New Zealand Pinot-Gris. Another Christmas party has gone.
Till next year.