The Party.


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.

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21 Responses to “The Party.”

  1. leggypeggy Says:

    Sounds like a great party.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. petspeopleandlife Says:

    Good friends and good food makes for a great party which is good medicine for all who have managed to live past 60 years of age. Sixty in my mind is a good age and if one can make it to 70 and beyond- well by George then you are cooking with gas.

    Those chicken wings sound extra delicious and there is no better compliment if all are heartily eaten.

    May you and Helga attend many more of the same party.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      You are right. The combination of nice food and good people is the answer. Most of us are now ambling towards the eighties, some even to the nineties. So far not a single mobility scooter, nor accompanying nurses.
      The chicken wings were nice but a bit over-cooked. The bean-salad with baby beet-root made up the lack of moisture in the former.

      Liked by 1 person

      • petspeopleandlife Says:

        Yum-yum. I love bean salad and I really love beets. I’ve not tried beets in bean salad but now I shall. Wonderful tip, Gerard.

        Your friends all sound like some very hardy stock. I’ll soon be 80 and my goal is to make it at least to 95 but we’ll see what we shall see. I only want very old age if I have all my marbles and none are rolling around in my head. 🙂

        Liked by 3 people

  3. Curt Mekemson Says:

    Old friends always make for a good party, Gerard. Just as old stories are often the best. “Do you remember when…” usually leads to a good tale, one polished with laughs. –Curt

    Liked by 3 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, Curt. A favourite still is; “remember when my good friend Otto got sea sick while on a fishing trip outside the harbour. The swell was mountainous and intake of golden-ale copious.
      He ended spewing in someone’s bait bucket.
      No sooner did we enter through harbour’s head and into calm water, the friend perked up and had yet another long-neck.”


  4. jennypellett Says:

    Enduring friendships are so precious. Making the effort to travel long distances, even if only once a year, is so important. I’ve been meeting up with a couple of friends twice a year since we went our separate ways after leaving high school. We’ve known each other since we were eleven. When we get together, it’s like we saw each other only yesterday. Magic.

    Liked by 3 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, that’s how it is with friendships. We nearly did not go. As we had visitors ourselves and somewhat tired. Glad we did though.
      One thing I noticed as people get older, they eat and also drink less.
      The prawns were hardly touched. I suppose, peeling them with ageing hands might be getting less. Still, the turkey did still go down heartily.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Julia Lund Says:

    What a precious tradition, and wonderful that it’s still as fresh and vital to you all. Long may it continue.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Yvonne Says:

    That sounds like such a wonderful tradition. It makes me quite envious, I’ve moved quite often and the only long term friends live on another continent.

    Here’s to many more of these joyful get-togethers, Gerard.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, Yvonne. Moving about does often mean less contact with friends. Fortunately, the marvel of IT means distances are overcome and contacts established in split seconds.

      Some say, those contacts are not real, but I think they are real, and often less fraught with dangers of rejection or unnecessary criticism.

      Of course there are those tiresome trolls and body corporate tyrants.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Happy Go lucky Says:

    I know too many cooks spoil the b….. but a friendly piece of advice on beet salad. Add sour cream, fennel and chopped gherkins.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Happy Go lucky Says:

    Ok got it Gerard. Perhaps If we lived closer, we could bring Valia’s world famous Russian dip. It’s made from lots of butter, cheese, sour cream and pretend caviar and ideally should be consumed within sight of a berioska tree !

    Liked by 2 people

  9. shoreacres Says:

    It’s all true. Tradition matters, old friends help sustain us, and those old stories improve with every telling. On the other hand, it’s good to develop new friendships along the way — and as we age, it’s even better to develop some friendships with younger people. It’s a fact of life that our circle will get smaller and smaller over the years, unless we devote a bit of energy to expanding it.

    I think you’re right about cyber-friends, too. We’re no less real to one another than we are to the people we meet on a daily basis. I’ve not met many blogging friends in real life, but I’ve met some, and in every case they were almost exactly the person I expected them to be. It really is fun.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      It is harder to make new friends when older. In my case I tried and joined a Men’s Shed to try and make new friends. It was all so quiet though. No one said much, including myself. There was a friendly rabbit waiting for a hutch to be built by his owner.

      One thing that is also a tradition is the yearly comedy shown on our National broadcaster, the ABC
      Here it is;
      It never fails to make me laugh. It is a classic.


      • shoreacres Says:

        That really is funny. I can see why it’s become a must-see. For me, it’s the film “A Christmas Story.” It’s a dead-on portrayal of what life was like for me growing up in the 1950s, as well as having a great plot. Here’s a little information about the film and the fellow who wrote it.


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