I'll definitely finish the story tonight.
As I mentioned a few posts back, the actual party is Saturday evening. But getting to Saturday evening requires getting through Saturday day. With three kids away from home--and therefore away from all of the their toys--that can be a challenge. We went to the Washington County Fair. $9 a head to get in, including the kids. But at least the fairground is ALL UPHILL! Every way you turn, it's up. It's like an Escher painting. That place could use a funicular. My wife later commented, "You would think they could have found level ground somewhere."
But we persevered.
I think I mentioned that the Saturday evening party starts in the gazebo out back. Of the 150 or so attendees, perhaps 50 bring an instrument of some sort. There are a lot of guitars, of course. But we have mandolins, fiddles, banjos, drums, a bagpipe, and lots of voices. In previous years, a Japanese woman brought her Shamisen. At least I think that's what she played. I googled "Japanese instruments" and found a picture that looks like what I recall seeing. So it really is a musical feast, with various sounds and styles everywhere.
This year, we did something really smart: we hired a babysitter. We didn't foist all three kids off on her. We just used her as a third set of hands to maintain the 1:1 ratio. After all, there are woods all around, a pond, and 30 feet from the inn's front door (admittedly a hike, but doable nonetheless) is a 50 mph highway.
Suffice to say, in previous years it was a little hard to relax and enjoy the party. But this year...
Underscoring just what a good decision we made in hiring the young lady, at one point I was sitting on the gazebo's patio, with my daughter in my lap, talking to my friends Lisa and Denny. (More on Denny later.) I said to them, "This is why we hired a babysitter. I can sit here with her on my lap and talk to you both. I could not sit here with her on my lap, watching one run around, and talk to you both."
Parents of two kids have no idea how good they've got it.
Around 9:00 or 10:00, we got the children up to bed, and then re-joined the party. Or better said, parties. By this time, people have split off. Some are still playing in the gazebo. Others congregate on the stone patio above the gazebo. Still others play on the front porch. I usually camp out on the side with the aforementioned Denny.
Denny is a good cat. He plays a lot of 70s "traditional" acoustic stuff (Eagles, CSN). That's not always my first choices of genres. But I know how the songs go, if not the actual chords. And Denny is a very good guitarist and singer; I truly respect him and enjoy working with him. And, between the two of us, we probably could play every Beatles song. So there's a lot of Fab Four as well.
Denny and I played until around 12:00 or 1:00. Then I went inside to get a glass of water, and wound up staying for an hour, as a few folks were hanging out and playing in the tavern: Billy Idol (again), Cure, Mazzy Star. Now you're talking my music!
So to bed around 2:00, and up at 8:00 or 9:00. Then we had breakfast, checked out, and headed home, stopping at our friends' house in Washington to visit with them and the out-of-towners who had been staying there. We got back on the road around 2:00, and made it to our house by 4:00.
Then unpack, laundry, dinner, bath, bed...in other words, the real world.
Until next year.