Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Never-Ending Party

This one we can definitely date. It was published Jan 20.

Never-Ending Party


We six women grew up, left home and dispersed around the country. In 2005 we came together in reunion. Then and there we made a commitment to stay in touch by email and to visit whenever possible. We live vastly different lives but have been pleasantly surprised that our early years had created such a strong bond. We are still scattered. Ellie lives near San Francisco . Cheryl is on the coast of Oregon . Denise is in Washington, a small town north of Kettle Falls . One Karen lives in England (I’ll call her English Karen); Other Karen in Floweree. And I’m here in Harlem . When I wake up in the morning to the same light and sounds and smells of my childhood, it makes me smile.

Our commitment has held. Our bond is strengthened. We are old friends and we are new friends. We email frequently, sometimes daily.

The other day Cheryl and English Karen were having an intense online chat about the recent tragedy in Arizona . The rest of us chimed in, grieving.

The following morning, English Karen message was headed: New Topic. Good news, she reported. The broken pipe no longer gushes. The river in our back yard is gone. The yard is a normal rain puddle.

Good news is, well, good news. If we were all together, I typed, we would celebrate your fixed pipe. Let’s have a faux party. I’ll simmer a vat of my famous vegetarian chili. It’s always a hit on a cold winter’s day. And I want to share some new music with you. What do you fine ladies want to bring?

Ellie piped right up, I’ll bring dessert. Apple cake and brownie cake. And several bottles of good wine, both red and white. And I’ll bring my good mood. We won’t talk about the world and its deplorable problems. And would you like Irish coffee?

Mmmm. Apple cake and Irish coffee, I responded. I see that our celebration will take hours. We’ll not just eat. We’ll dine. I’m lighting candles for comfort against the blowing snow and bitter cold.

There’s no such thing as too much, English Karen said. I’m on my way with Laphroaig Scotch and sticky toffee pudding topped with fresh whipped cream. Since it’s a virtual party, we can eat and drink as much as we want. Listen, I’ll pop over to the Taste of India takeaway for onion bhajis and vegetable samosas and prawn karahi.

Let’s eat and drink ourselves into oblivion. We’ll be oblivious to the world and its problems. Let’s enjoy one another to the fullest. I added smoked salmon to the feast.

Other Karen dropped in with fresh rolls dripping with butter, so hot out of the oven we had to blow on them before we could bite into them, a perfect accompaniment to her ham and bean soup and an entire selection of homemade jams, which reminded English Karen to bring crumpets and clotted cream.

Denise brought daal made by her husband, the adventurous chef, and cous-cous and garlic naan bread. Cheryl was the last to show up. We made a special request for her clam chowder and Tillamook ice-cream, several flavors. She said she couldn’t stay long. She had a second party to attend that night to cheer on the beleaguered Ducks.

I had to skip out for a city council meeting but asked the others to keep things hot until I got back home. I think it was Ellie who said we should raid the fridge at midnight.

The next day Denise wrote to say, The party was terrific, the food delicious. I am still full. Thank you for a wonderful time.

Our celebration was divine. Nothing went to waste. And nothing went to waist.

Sondra Ashton

HDN: Looking out my back door

January 20, 2010

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