On the way home from the party

Summer parties are winding down. We have one more party to attend. Ours.
My Sweet Al and I are poor party guests and wonder why we are invited in the first place. He is too quiet and I get carried away. There isn’t any in-between with us. We live in the extreme when we are around other people. We are compatible when we are home alone by ourselves.
Other guests seem to know how to behave themselves. They don’t have outbursts. They quietly enjoy other guests. They know how to experience wonderful food, beautiful homes and delightful hosts.
Have you ever wondered about the conversations that go on in the car after people leave the party? My Sweet Al and I have those after-party discussions. We thank the gracious hosts who have worked so hard to make the time enjoyable.
We step in the car and say, “That was a special time. They made everything so nice. What wonderful people. We must invite them to our home.”
Then a silent hush falls over us for about two minutes. My Sweet Al starts the conversation. “We stayed at the party 30 minutes too long. We should have left when you were ahead. You know how I always tell you to leave on top. Not when the party is going down hill.”
I paused before I answered. I knew I was in trouble again. I remembered the nod and the look. “But, Al, we left on top. I was on a roll and having too much fun to leave.”
Too much fun usually means I took over the conversation. I would have to apologize to everyone the next day, starting with the hostess. I remember the moment. I was in my stride and I thought I was adding to the party. The more I talked, the funnier everything became and I kept going on and on and stepped over some lines.
After that luncheon and when we were in the car, my Sweet Al said, “You were in rare form and ripped your drawers. We don’t have to worry about being invited back.”
“I couldn’t help myself. I thought they were enjoying the conversation. You were smiling. I had a captive audience and they encouraged me to keep going. At least I didn’t jump up on the table and put a lampshade on my head.”
“You would’ve if you could have found a lampshade. You need to leave that cheap wine alone.”
“That is exactly why I don’t drink anything but water. I don’t want my mind altered. People stimulate me enough.”
“They drain me. I can only handle one person at a time. I like a one-on-one conversation.”
“Well, it wasn’t as bad as the shrimp boil party where we had to play whiffle ball.”
Our daughter made my son-in-law pick me to be on his team. He didn’t want to, but to keep peace, he did anyway. Then they made me run the bases. I asked for a designated runner. They said I had to run for myself. I had eaten one shrimp too many and I could hardly pick up my feet.
One of our team players shouted, “It’s Mama’s turn to bat again. Ha, ha.” I stood at home plate and thought, “Oh Lord, help me run these bases. I don’t think I can make it around another time.”
I was going to show them I could do it and that I was a team player. It didn’t dawn on me to strike out.
On the way home from the party, My Sweet Al offered his observation. “You were so funny running the bases.”
“Laugh if you must. I was a pretty good softball player in my day. The reason I had to run the bases is because I hit the ball. That’s the way the game is played. Is that why you struck out every time?”
Al thinks his job at a party is to observe and be quiet. I’m a participator and believe we need to be a part of the party.
Al lets the party come to him. That’s no fun. I tell him to go talk to someone. Find Bob. Bob is your friend. He will talk to you. Al doesn’t move. He tells me to rein it in. I don’t stop.
I find Bob. I talk to Bob. When we are in the car going home, Al asks, “What was on Bob’s mind?”
“Al, why didn’t you ask him?”
All in fun. We have been in beautiful homes with beautiful hosts. Everyone works hard to make the day special. We are always thankful and appreciative to have been invited and just hope we don’t ruin their event.
Well, it’s my turn to have the party for my writers’ group. I tried to get out of it, but they said the Lower Blanco is a fun place. One good thing is I can’t be asked to leave and I’m always too busy overseeing the party to get into trouble.
It will be a tour of Italy. We will have a sidewalk café with Italian cuisine, decorations and lights. It didn’t seem enough just to have a potluck and a few yard games. Once again, the ideas got out of hand and I can’t seem to stop until it’s over-the-top. I wonder why I can’t be normal.
Final brushstroke: I’m thankful for friends, who love us anyway and invite us back. Even if Al watches the clock and thinks we should have left 30 minutes earlier and I have too much fun and don’t know how to rein it in. I wonder about others’ conversation after the party and on their way home. They are probably talking about us. Lord, help us all.
Readers’ comments
“Dear Betty, I often read your column and can usually identify with and enjoy it. Your latest one about your grandson really touched my heart. We have seven grandchildren and one great granddaughter. Trying to keep track of all of them is a daunting task since they are all out of state. However we do try to stay relevant in their lives and make sure they know they are loved. Thank you so much for a touching article. Sincerely, Judy Puryear”

This story was posted on September 21, 2017.