Friday, July 6, 2012


Last week I wrote about how I hadn’t been invited to Rick and Sharon’s annual Fourth of July block party on my road, and how I was going to do everything short of flinging myself in front of their car when they drove by, in an effort to get their attention and get invited.

Well, I’ve received so many e-mails asking me if I ended up going to the party or not, I decided I should tell the rest of the story.

  Last Saturday morning, I didn’t crawl into bed until long after sunrise.  I’d been up all night, writing, and lost track of time.  When I finally woke up at about 3:30 that afternoon, I found a note taped to my front door.  It was from Rick and Sharon, telling me that yes, I definitely had an open invitation to their annual party because I was part of the neighborhood “family.”  The note went on to say the party was going to start at 4 that afternoon!

My first reaction was, “Yessss!  I got my invitation!”  My second reaction was, “Noooo!  I didn’t bake anything to bring and my hair looks really crappy!  Do I have time to touch up my roots?”

I flew into the kitchen and started rummaging through the cabinets and flinging things everywhere.

“Looking for something?” my husband looked away from his TV program long enough to ask.

“I have to bring something to the party!  I can’t arrive empty-handed!”

“You can have the other half of my bag of potato chips,” he said, “if that will help.”

I should have taken his potato chips even though I had no intention of bringing a half-eaten bag of chips to the party.  He’s diabetic and shouldn’t be eating them in the first place.

I decided to whip up some chocolate cupcakes with marshmallow filling.  In my rush to make them, I ended up getting marshmallow on everything within a 10-foot radius of the stove.  I think one of my dogs may still be stuck to the floor.

By the time I managed to get myself looking human, it was 7:30.  I was way beyond being fashionably late.

“Are you going to walk over?” my husband asked as I headed for the door.

I frowned at him. “A half-mile walk in 90-degree weather while carrying a tray of cupcakes?  Are you kidding?”

Before he could comment, I was out the door and on my way to the party. 

I figured I’d disappear into the crowd when I arrived and no one would notice how late I was.  Never in a million years would I have guessed how wrong that assumption was going to be.

Rick and Sharon’s driveway goes up a fairly steep hill.  I parked on the road and walked up the hill.  When I reached the top, the crowd of guests, all of whom were gathered outside, started cheering and applauding, “Yaaayyy!  Sally made it!”

I turned bright red.

Immediately, Rick rushed over to me. “Did you really think you weren’t invited?” he asked. “I mean, really?  Did you really think that?”

I nodded.

He clearly looked offended. “How could you think such a thing?”

I shrugged.  “Well, when you get to be my age, you don’t take anything for granted!”

“Then pay attention,” he said, his nose practically touching mine. “You’re invited to next year’s party!”

I smiled and handed him the cupcakes. “Is this all you brought?” he joked.

The party turned out to be more than worth all of the torture I went through, wondering whether or not I’d be invited.   Everyone was laughing and smiling, which, I suspected, had a lot to do with these little cups of various-colored Jell-O everyone called “Jell-O shots,” that smelled suspiciously like something 100-proof.  One whiff nearly burned out my nose hairs.

Louise, a woman I’ve known for years, greeted me with a big smile and teasingly said, “Even though you’re an uninvited guest, you can still sit here next to me!”  I sat down and noticed a stack of empty Jell-O shot cups in front of her on the table.

“I think I’m on number 13,” she informed me. “They’re really good!”

I figured that just one of those Jell-O shots probably would cause me to stagger into the nearest tree...or fall and roll all the way down the driveway and out onto the road.

“How do you think you’re going to feel in the morning?” I asked her.

“Terrible!” she said, laughing.

Fortunately, there was plenty of food to soak up the shots – a garage full of tables of every cuisine imaginable.  It was like a Las Vegas buffet.

And the evening closed with some spectacular “aaahhh!” and “oooohh”-inspiring fireworks, for which the weather, a nice clear sky, was perfect.

So all I can say is my neighborhood really knows how to throw a party, and I’m sure glad I didn’t miss it.

The trouble is, the older I get, the more forgetful I more than likely, I’ll be sitting here impatiently waiting for my invitation again next year.

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