Archive | November, 2021

The Cocktail Party

27 Nov

I’ve been looking at friend photos of the Thanksgiving that just passed, and it reminded me of a dinner party my companion and I held while living in Albany, NY. We lived in a really cool rehab brownstone around the block from the governor’s mansion. It had all the cool – brick walls, original floorboard, galley kitchen, great outdoor space, and I did some artsy deco stuff around the faux fireplace that made the mantel stand out. Needless to say it was great for parties, and my companion and lover at the time, was a young, absolutely gorgeous, Julie Christie look-alike. We were young, fun, fabulous, and we both believed in an open door policy – where our generosity knew no boundaries, particularly around the holidays.

By six at night, the party was in full-swing. People were bringing gifts and placing them under the Christmas tree that was centered between two big, floor to ceiling windows. The tree looked perfect in the living room, nearly 8 feet tall, it filled the apartment with aromas of freshly cut pine. Both Edie and I greeted each guest, taking their jackets, and offering a first glass of wine or champagne.

I had invited Erin and Lisa, two friends who I had known from Brooklyn, and who had transplanted themselves, moving to Albany a few months earlier – over the summer, for a job with New York State. “Oh!” I said to Erin, “How are you?!” We kissed and hugged, introductions all around. And I remember Erin winking at me and whispering, “Wow, Ter, she’s beautiful.”

“She a lot of work, Erin” we smiled knowingly. “Does this have to be refrigerated?” as she passed the tray, so many people were in the kitchen, and it was Edie pulling me aside, “I’m putting the ice on the deck, there’s no more room in the refrigerator. What’s that?!” she said, pointing to what I was holding.

“It’s something from Erin and Lisa – “

Edie, always in a rush more than me, “We can’t fit it! I’ll put it under the tree!”

The next day the regular clean-up began, the expected dishes in the sink, the leftovers sitting on the counter looking half-dead, the open bottles of wine with their mismatched corks, and someone forgot their gloves. Where was the Advil?

I walked into the living room and the cats had taken over the tree, it was askew and one particular gift was ripped apart, and I could see tiny bits of food strewn across the wrap that surrounded the Christmas tree stand. I picked up whatever was left of the “gift” and read the tiny card that was still intact, “Terry and Edie, Merry Christmas! Love, Erin and Lisa”.

That was so sweet and kind and thoughtful of them to bring a gift, and the shrimp cocktail that never made it to the frig.