Sunday, June 5, 2011

I go to a garden party (m)

The invitation to the party this afternoon said "Casual attire."  The party was a thank-you reception for people who supported this particular skater's charitable events. 

I go alone as the males in my family have no interest. 

Casual.  Casual.  What do I wear?  Well, I  had so much success with yesterday's white pants--hot pink blouse-- outfit that I wore it again.  All I change are the earrings and I press the shirt.

I plug the address into my GPS and set out.  Down Route 9, into Brookline.  I vaguely recall a visit to someone's house here once, many years ago.  Who was that?  Oh, yes, Liza.  It was her grandmother's house.  I remember two things about that visit.  One: She called her grandmother "Grandmother."  Two: the house was bigger than the town in which I grew up.

Driving off Route 9, I come to this windy road with gorgeous homes and beautiful trees.  I see a sign for Frederick Law Olmstead's historic home.  He was a famous landscape architect.  Did the Arboretum in Boston also known as The Emerald Jewel.  The rhododendrum were enormous and came in all different colors--deep purple--deep rose--light pink. 

My GPS says I'm close enough to spit on the house but I see nothing.  A little man jumps out from the bushes and asks me to stop.  He tells me I may go "up to the main house."   I keep driving.  All of a sudden, a castle appears.  I get out of my car and have no idea where to go.  I've never seen so many entrances in my life.  I go up the stairs onto the patio.

I must be at the wrong party.  Women in straw hats and beautiful sundresses.  Men in seersucker jackets.  Champagne in flutes.  Little pastries on silver trays.

Me in my Haviana flip-flops.

I feel as though I've stumbled upon a scene from F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby.

My little skater friend appears, all decked out in a designer dress.  She lives here.  In this castle.

I am overwhelmed.  There are two grand pianos in the drawing room.  She and her sisters are concert pianists.  I try to talk up this nice gentleman but he excuses himself to "get back to work" (turns out, he is  a waiter). 

Another skater--a male--comes up to me and tells me to come with him to join one of the house tours.  This is surreal.

In the next room, I see the dessert table. 

I am underwhelmed.

A couple of simple cakes, obviously store-bought.  Some strawberries.  A few petite fours.

That's it.

I don't know why, but when I see this paltry display, I get my confidence back.

I want to load these people in my car and take them to Cousin Patty's and show them how a real party gets done.

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