Monday, March 30, 2009

Graduation Parties (July 24th, 2007) Minneapolis Star-Tribune

Well that’s it. The graduation party season is over – no more eating in garages. We attended our last one on July 8th. The season runs for at least two months, and during that time you can expect to consume enough sandwiches and potato salad to supply a quaint country church with a nice basement style lunch. I prefer the dessert table. Much to my family’s embarrassment – I always check out the desserts before I grab anything else. Sometimes I will even do this before I greet the host (or the graduate in this case). I’m a much better guest when I’ve had something to eat. Personally, I lean towards the bars with oatmeal and chocolate – the kind that could make Jenny Craig fell off her own diet.

My reasoning is very simple - I’m just not sure I want to spoil my appetite by eating some of the variety meats that are offered. After a couple dozen parties I found myself actually smelling the food before I agreed to put it on my plate. “What’s this stuff?” I would whisper to my wife. “Do I like it?” “Just take some and quit smelling everything,” was her reply as her eyes darted about to see if anyone was staring more than usual.

We attended one party where for the first five full minutes no one looked familiar. I did my usual dessert table inspection, but I couldn’t help but feel the stares of the other guests who wondered who the strangers were. I suggested to Rhonda that we drop the card in the card box, grab a sandwich, some water, maybe a bar or a brownie, some cake and hit the road before we were outed as party crashers. Just as we were making our escape the mother of the graduate recognized us and offered me a plate. “I already have a plate,” I assured her – but she was rather insistent that I place the cake on a plate instead of in my hands.

The party we had for our graduate was a rather nice affair. I say this only because I have the ability to screw up any social situation - but not this time. I was on my best behavior.
I insulted only a few of the guests and I didn’t fight with anyone. I had run enough extension cord throughout the farm to reach the sub station at the bottom of the hill. I found out that it takes a great deal of electrical amperage to power all the crock pots and roasters that are necessary to have a graduation party.

We attended a few dozen parties (or so it seems). My wife made a slight error in judgment when during conversation at one of the parties she let slip how many parties we had been invited to. People were a bit put-off by what they perceived as boasting. Rhonda tried to explain that she was merely remarking how busy we were. They didn’t buy it. I had no idea it had become such a competitive affair. I quickly changed the subject to something more neutral – The Pope’s current position on gays in the military and how it was affecting the war in Iraq. A friend of mine predicts that soon your high school graduates will be registered at Target for your gift giving convenience.

One of the invitations we received had a line that perplexed me. Right below the picture of the graduate was “Any questions? Call us at _____.” I wanted to call them and ask “Who else will be there?”, “Is there a dress code?”, and “Before we agree to come - tell me about the desserts.”

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