The Hangover

September 6, 2010

Not an alcoholic hangover, but that icky feeling of being abused. The garden is certainly feeling it today. Our annual Labor Day party was yesterday and it was a good one.

While we set up, I noticed that the beans that were bumps in the mulch yesterday were no longer just bumps, but were already inches high sprouts. How does that happen so quickly? I’m thinking that we’ll have a great crop of beans for Halloween.

Eliza and I heard finch calls from the front and stood in the foyer watching three of them rip apart the coneflower heads. She said, “That call always sound like a baby laughing to me.” She imitated it as she explained the cadence and flow and by god, it is like a baby laughing. I’ll never think of it the same way again!

Tables and chairs were arranged, coolers dragged outside, bean bag games set up. The garden filled with family and friends, all bearing bright salads and sweet desserts, enjoying the absolutely perfect, made-to-order, couldn’t-be-better weather that seemed designed specifically for Labor Day.

The pampas grass drew much attention from many and Mike Gaynor turned out to be more interested in gardening then I’d thought. I’ll give him perennials when I divide! Poppy patiently endured Dominic, leaping and shouting and putting Griffey on her lap. She also patiently endured Griffey. Michelle Black and son Matt were such welcome guests; he is such a sweet, grounded young man. We missed John!

Danny sat on the kitchen floor and muttered about wanting to go home until the Fitzgerald boys showed up. Minutes later, he was red-faced, laughing and running and shouting and playing football with the big boys. Later, he was twisted with glowsticks but confused why he was always found when they played Ghost in the Graveyard. My mom got a kick out of that.

My hammock got a workout, spinning multiple children and dumping them with a thud. Danny needed ice for his nose. Music played, laughter rang and stories were exchanged.

Dominic and Barb got the bean bag tournament going and I narrowly avoided participating by the arrival of Jenny and Andy. Andy took my place. I did have to play later, after I rescued my pampas grass blooms from horrid children cracking them to burn in the fire. I have to admit that they made quite an effect, like an explosion of fireworks – I just didn’t want to lose them all!

Those kids also burned the entire bag of pinecones Marty and Barb brought me, creating a veritable inferno that could be felt yards away. The pinecones by the pond were picked up and used as missiles late at night, popping against the adults until three of the men ran after them. Damn kids.

Poppy and I shared conversation by the fire (I love that child) and then Nick arrived – expected but not expected. Eliza didn’t get home from work until after 10, missing most of the party – poor kid.

This morning, the back yard was littered with pinecones which I picked up and deposited back by the pond. There are eight rubbed, worn spots in the lawn where bag players stood and, as Larry instructed me, dragged their back toe in the grass. (I still couldn’t hang against Julie, who was in the Bag Zone). Tony and I picked up beer bottle caps, rolled up tablecloths, took down chairs, threw away garbage, rearranged the table and chairs.

This is why I have this annual party – it makes my yard – and my house – come alive with people and sounds and food and drink. It is joyous and raucous, full of love and laughs and happiness. It is just plain fun.

It is chilly and windy today, breezy and overcast. It looks like rain and I think Tony has a real hangover.

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