Having a party again is simply wonderful.
Every summer, Mark, my husband, makes a gigantic paella and we invite friends to watch the process (trust me, it is a show) and eat the amazing results.
The party always occurs between the 4th of July and the 14th, Bastille Day. Are you wondering why we make a paella to celebrate those two holidays? It evolved as a way to celebrate my French origins, Mark’s Spanish roots, and the fact that we live in the United States.
With the paella comes the décor. That’s my job; and this year’s layout was a bit different. Previous themes always included blue, white, and red to go along with the holidays. But living on the East Coast, we’ve had an abundance of rain this year. The garden is an explosion of greens, dotted with intermittent bursts of color from the flowers showing off their brilliance. So it seemed that the perfect contrast to that setting was white.
We set up the tables in a large U to accommodate 34 people and faced the pool lit with Asian-inspired floating water lanterns. The tables were covered with white linens and adorned with silverware and glass, some to drink from and others to hold the candles and still others to hold one or two stems of white and light-yellow Alstroemerias to stand individually and delicately on their own amid the glow of the candles.
Once lit, the floating candles, that were supposed to meander over the water, didn’t. Instead, they firmly grouped in one corner of the pool with no plan to amble through the water, defeating their purpose. “Next time,” someone suggested, “you should attach a line and a small weight to the bottom of the paper lantern to keep them in their place.” I don’t know if it will work but it was a brilliant suggestion.
Everyone helps with the party. Our kids and their friends set the tables, light all the candles, and are on call to do whatever else needs doing.
And of course, our dear friends, who stay at the beck and call of Mark who lovingly barks out requests for this or that, for someone to bring whatever he requires back down to him as he cooks. When he pronounces the paella done, he asks for someone to let me know that it’s time to serve and I see people wander into the kitchen to ask what they can do to help. It’s really a family affair.
And when the evening is over, the kids stay and help clear the bulk of it! In the morning whoever is left in the house participates in finishing the task and usually by noon you wouldn’t know we had just had a party. If it weren’t for all this support and joy this party wouldn’t be nearly as fun.
What really made it a great evening was that not only was it the first night in almost a week that the sky was clear, but it was all the friends, happy, smiling, and delighted to be together again—that was amazing.
Personally, I’d like to thank the vaccines for making it possible.
Are you starting to come out and party? I'd love to how you're celebrating. Leave a comment below. Merci - Thanks!
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