Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Origins of a Good Party

One cannot live a serious life without enjoying a good party. I was at the Robert Sund birthday party in LaConner last night, held in LaConner's most wonderful building, the Civic Garden Club. The building is 130 years old and once held the county courthouse, and was later used as a school and library. It's very warm inside.

Robert Sund -- he died seven years ago -- but we still celebrate his birthday and his poetry every November. Arthur Greeno came up from Taos, New Mexico. Charlie Krafft showed up from Seattle. Tim McNulty, from Port Townsend -- a lot of stories assembled in one room. After the dinner and the poems, we had music and dancing, led by Jeff Winston and his son Wyatt. Jeff came back from Italy -- he said he's there half the time these days.

Most importantly Holly Graham was there. For her, as for so many others, LaConner will always be home. But she has been in Olympia these past years.

Holly is a magnificent entertainer. I was searching for comparisons -- Mary Martin, Ethel Mermann, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan -- no, no, no, comparisons are never good. But then I would need adjectives to describe Holly's voice -- her range, texture, power, sweetness, and complexity. I'm not good at this. But she is having a concert in LaConner at Maple Hall December 12.

Prior to the birthday bash, I had dinner with the Tahas, Kwami and Shani. This is a warm house. Kwami was raised in New York City, which is cold enough. Then he served two years in the Korean War -- two horribly cold winters, which he will never forget. Since then, he has made it a life's objective to stay warm -- plus many other accomplishments, of course.

Over dinner, we discussed the idea of having an Inauguration Party in LaConner on January 20. I raised the suggestion -- why should we just watch it on TV? Why not be a part of a national celebration, by throwing our own party in Maple Hall?

Obama will be sworn in and give his speech on the Capitol steps. This we can watch together. Then the parade goes down the Avenue, but in the evening comes the Inaugural Ball. So we can set up a big screen TV in Maple Hall, and gather there in our best party clothes, and wait for the music to begin. The lights will dim at the Ball in Washington DC. Michelle and Barack Obama will step out onto the dance floor for the first time as President and First Lady. The whole world will be watching. Won't it be sweet?

Then we'll begin dancing at our party in LaConner -- what a lot of fun that could be. Everybody join in. Good parties are good politics. Don't wait for instructions from headquarters -- start planning now.

MORE ABOUT PARTIES. I have these brilliant insights, which I share with you. Parties are a way to get through hard times. Suppose you were hoping to buy a new truck. Sorry, the money's not there. And the Mrs. has been dreaming about a kitchen remodel for years, but the bank won't lend you the money, and you can't afford the debt anyway.

But you can throw a party -- parties don't cost a lot of money. Have a dance party, a costume party, a Parcheesi and Monopoly party, with food, music, drinks, and dancing. Have a house party. What are you going to do, sit around and think about things? I figure if I'm spending more than one hour a day thinking, it's too much. Serious people know how to have fun.

ENOUGH OF THAT. We now offer a rare glimpse into the inner workings of Frog Hospital. While we try to present a pretty face to the world, and we want to make it look effortless, the actual production process in the Frog Hospital laboratory can be a bit gruesome and untidy. I was going to write something about the Clintons -- like why can't they just go away. Aren't they ever going to leave?

Then I was going to write about Gay Marriage in California, until I saw Dr. Phil having debate on the same subject in his afternoon TV show. Who cares about gay marriage? it's a Dr. Phil issue.

Then I started to write a very compelling story about recent events at the hospital, but the truth is that I don't get to tell those stories. I don't take notes either. Maybe years from now, I can write some wonderful stories about what I have seen here, but it's a matter of privacy now. So I hit delete on that one.

Then I came up with a really good idea on a Tom Robbins story, and I will tell it next time. And finally, I settled on this story about the good parties.

You see, it can get kind of messy. But I don't want to say too much about the inner process. Honesty, and the courage it takes to be honest, are of the highest virtue. But Full Disclosure is a modern disease. Never Tell Anybody Everything.

And lastly, I used to work at the Wilson County News in Floresville, Texas. It was a good job and I was well paid. But now I have this blog, which I send to my old paper and they host it on their website. I get no money for this service, but I am glad to do my old paper a favor. It is one of the best newspapers in Texas, even in the whole country, so check it out.

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