Sometimes the atmospheric pressure is just right, the crowd’s collective chemistry in sync, and a party springs from the ether. Other times, a party is carefully cultivated – deliciously catered, precisely play-listed, and painstakingly guest-listed. The party I attended last night took a little magic from the former and a little planning from the latter. And at its root was a hostess who seemed to have little trouble bringing together two generations of ladies – separating them from their menfolk to paint, drink, and listen to bad yacht rock – on St. Patrick’s Day, no less!
You’ve been to parties – birthdays, wedding receptions, retirements, and (sadly) funerals – where oftentimes the only tie many of the guests have to one another is the person being honored. They’re either gloriously fun (or in the case of funerals, touchingly warm), or they are extraordinarily awkward. I bet this speaks more to the personality of the honoree than it does to most of the guests.
Last night, the hostess was my sister-in-law, Catherine. These are the women she brought together for appetizers and wine at her house, then a painting party at Sips & Strokes workshop in Cool Springs: Her mother (who flew in from St. Louis); her sister-in-law (me); her sister-in-law’s mother (my mom); her mother-in-law (who’s my mother-in-law, too); and her stepmother. Read that a few more times, and draw the family tree if you must. Ordinarily, this group of people would not be together unless someone died. But Catherine brought us together on St. Patrick’s Day – just for the heck of it.
At the end of the night, the painting instructor at Sips & Strokes told a room full of Type A women to stop comparing their artwork to others in the room. She said: Take it home, sleep on it, and upon reflection, you’ll be proud.
She could have been talking about our hostess.