Tag Archives: mary janes


These are my favorite parties that I did not have a hand in hosting.

As a kid, my birthday party was in our garage. I recall photos of pin the tail on the donkey behind my good friend and neighbor’s head. His head failed him shortly thereafter with a brain tumor and he was gone, and it had nothing to do with pin the tail on the donkey.

Another childhood party took place after we moved up the road from a dairy and we had a great time running through the pastures (my sister and I were dressed in blouses, skirts and Mary Janes) and building hay forts in the barn, boys vs. girls. With muck on our shiny shoes I don’t believe we went there for a while.

This is about adult parties (not that kind), and some of the best have come from out of the blue and we had nothing to do to plan them. Sadly, they were all going-away parties.

Shortly after we married we were off to another state and a friend said “Hey, I’ve a few people coming over tonight, don’t lift a finger, it’s all taken care of.” K brought the party to us with pizza and guests and we all had a great time. At the end she cleaned up and helped me pack up the wedding china my father bought me. What a good friend.

Sent to Scotland for a while we had a favorite restaurant owned by a former Italian cop. Yes. They had great pizza and mussels. We had to get up early for our flight home. The owner gave me Sicilian treats. I gave him my new Frank Sinatra CD of my favorite album of all time, Come Fly With Me.

My husband, who does not drink alcohol, was induced to sing a Texas song at the restaurant. He sang a passage from the classic El Paso. We moved tables and the entire Italian restaurant sang Back In The Heart of Texas. It hurt me to leave. He remembers it as a great party, as do I and  I still miss the bagpipes on the street. Plus their pizza and mussels. My grade school music teachers would be proud that I married one with such a great voice. Ah, his keyboard technique is better, not piano, computer……

We had a quiet gathering up in the mountains a few years ago with friends and co-workers. It was just good to get together with neighbors and everyone to celebrate our lives there. Good food and camaraderie, that’s what life is all about. Several had come to ski and take care of our dog Zoe while we were away so it was like family. We miss that place.

We miss the people from everywhere we’ve lived. Sometimes I wish we could settle down and have a small place in the country. Of course I’d need room for a chest freezer for dog food et al. I’ll ask about that as I know the expert.

Here’s to Tommy, my old friend, Dee

ps Of course there will be a guest room!

May I Please Be Excused?

Please, Dad, may I be excused? Why? To finish my homework.

No, you can’t put your little brother in the oven!  You can’t shovel the sidewalk as it’s July and there’s no snow. Excuses went on and on and got sillier and when I started laughing, I’d be allowed to leave the table and finish my homework.

Family time. Too many families don’t have it anymore. They don’t sit down together for a home-cooked meal. We talked politics, work, school, arts, whatever and it was always the focal point of my day. I made it a point to come home with a story from school because we went around the table and as the eldest child, I was expected to come up with something that would teach the younger ones to do so as well.

I also learned which fork to use, and to ask permission to leave the table and when granted I would say farewell to any guests. Also to fold my napkin nicely and place fork and knife in the correct way to assure I was done with dinner. Then I’d take my dish and silverware to the sink and rinse it.

Drying dishes was always a part, until we got a dishwasher. Etiquette was utmost in our Teutonic family, but family time came first. I wore Mary Janes and lace anklets and a skirt and blouse to my first country birthday party where we made hay forts and stepped in cow patties. I think we went shopping for pants shortly afterward but we still had to wear skirts to school. With half-slips. I haven’t seen one of those in a few decades!

Yes, I do remember Walter Cronkite giving the body count in Vietnam every night on our first color TV, courtesy of Papa who spent the summer with us every year. Our first week he bought 150′ of heavy rope and tied it every foot. got out of his wheelchair (he had one leg) and scrabbled 15 feet down the hill and tied it to a tree. At 100′ after tying we had a safe way down to the creek 150′ down. And a quick route up after Mom blew the car horn three times. That meant get up here, wash up because Dad’s on his way for dinner. You have fifteen minutes, girls!

Ah, the good old days. Today I framed a couple of photos of her family, which will be ready in about a week. Forget about a home-cooked meal, which I do nearly every day, just sit down and talk over take-out pizza. Joke around and find out if kids/parents are OK.

May I please be excused? No? There’s a flood in the basement that needs me right now. I need to get the hurricane kit so we have food and water for the next few days. You keep eating that meat loaf, I’ve gotta go. Dee