It was a good party.
Of course you would expect me to say that, since it was our going-away party and I am bound to be biased. But there were six dogs and plenty of food and lots of laughter and some tears and even a little barking and if that doesn’t qualify as a good party, I don’t know what does.
Jake, the mixed-breed pup who showed up first, was pretty chill when the entire family of border collies showed up – all on leashes and looking like they owned the place. The border collies were delighted to see me because they had previously only seen me in their yard, handing out treats. It was like a colossal dog joke, seeing the Treat Lady in a totally different place. They were grinning from ear to ear and Jake decided they were OK.
But when the two wheaten terriers showed up, that was two dogs too many. Jake went crazy barking and his owner had to leave, which was sad. But the wheatens stayed, and they even performed “Who Let the Dogs Out,” which their owner played on his phone while they barked along in time.
I was worried about the food because our kitchen is empty so this was a “Bring Your Own Everything” affair. I called my neighbor in a panic the morning of the party.
“Nancee! Should I buy potato salad? Should I make some garlic bread?”
“Why?” Nancee asked.
“I’m afraid there won’t be enough food! I have no idea what anyone is bringing.”
“Don’t worry about it,” Nancee said.
This was not Nancee’s first rodeo, so I trusted her. That evening, the table was completely covered with food. There wasn’t room for dessert until people ate up some of the salads and breads and chips and dips.
Charles, who is 85 and whose wife just died, came from across the street.
“How are you, Charles?” I asked.
“I’m sad!” he announced. “I’ve lost 15 pounds!”
“I’m so sorry, Charles,” I told him. “You better have more pasta salad.” And he did.
There were stories told and lots of laughs and I realized I knew more people than I thought I did in this town where I spent most of my time alone. There were women from writers groups and people with dogs (of course) and neighbors of all ages, some of whom had never met each other. Everyone stayed much longer than I expected, and it was fun to see these people together who seemed to have very little in common other than knowing my husband, Peter, and me.
It finally got dark, and that takes a while these days. The last people folded up their camp chairs and said their goodbyes. I made sure Charles had a lot of pasta salad to take home – and five pieces of cheesecake.
“You do like cheesecake, don’t you, Charles?”
“Oh, sure,” he said.
“You have been a wonderful neighbor,” Peter told Charles, as I dished up pasta salad. “We will miss you.”
Charles’ eyes filled with tears as he took his boxes of food and headed back to his empty house.
“It was a good party,” I informed Peter, after everyone left, as I ate my traditional second dessert, the one a hostess is supposed to have after all the guests have left.
“It was,” Peter agreed.
“I think it was the best party ever,” I added.
“Why do you say it was the best party?” Peter wanted to know.
“There were dogs. The best parties have dogs.”
Peter couldn’t argue with that.
Till next time,