Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A Par-tay, Charlotte style

My very dear friend Lynn decided to throw us a welcome to Charlotte party and seeing as how we missed getting together with people in a big way, we said of course. I know she is saddened by my lack of friends in Charlotte and wants to introduce me to many of her friends whom she loves so much. I also know she is one helluva hostess and throws a fabulous party (she is a native New Orleanian after all) and our arrival in her new home town was the perfect excuse for throwin down.

I was a bit nervous about the party for several reasons including most importantly, my open and apparent need of new friends. Would I seem desperate? I sure didn't want to come off that way. I also wasn't sure what parties were like here and how different they would be from my own Canadian backyard summer affairs which tended to be loose and long-lasting. I didn't know if people would take off their masks, let down their hair or whatever other cliche there is for having some real fun...that's what I like to do.

To ease my anxiety, Lynn strategically made me in charge of getting everyone their first drink. This allowed me to introduce myself, get people talking, and hopefully a little liquored up. As a former bartender, it was a role I was very comfortable with. It also gave me a purpose other than sitting on the sofa waiting for people to be my friend. Blech.

My kids planted themselves out front and worked their quirky, adorable charm on all the unsuspecting guests. "I'm Keller; my dad is famous, and so I'm famous and I like armchairs" was a particularly memorable opener. Cyre on the other hand, shook hands and directed traffic. Her manners are impeccable at most times and shone this particular night. My husband planted himself in a chair beside the piano and played jazz tunes with his partner in crime, Ethan. I couldn't help but relax and smile.

The music, food and wine worked wonders. Before long, people were laughing and chatting up a storm. Friends sat with friends as per usual at a party but were quick to make room for someone new. The kids got tattoos from the hostess and one mom took it upon herself to put them every kid there (and herself of course). Food just kept showing up as did bottle after bottle of Shiraz's, cabs and Merlots. Things were heating up!

With all the good food and free-flowing wine, it wasn't long before other guests decided to get in on the entertainment. I just prayed my husband, the paid professional, wouldn't roll his eyes when the amateurs stepped up to the mike. To be fair, Lynn had warned us that a few friends had anticipated a well-heeled hootenanny and were going to bring along their instrument of choice. One friend was even going to bring a pair of tap shoes; this I couldn't wait to see! Another friend had a song to sing and when I asked her about it at the beginning of the night she replied "not yet honey. I'm not nearly drunk enough!". Ooowee.

What started off as a trumpet/piano duo became a trio with the additional of an accordion, a quartet with the addition of an African drum, and an accompaniment to both the hoofer and the belter. Channeling her best Ella Fitzgerald (well, more like Ethel Merman really) one guest sang a tribute to our host that had us in stitches. "Bravo!" we shouted, though I noted how quickly my husband counted down another song he was certain she wouldn't know. The tap-dancing professor proved that one isn't restricted to using just the left or right brain. I was inspired.

I was also flattered by the friendliness of the folks there and the warm welcomes I received. I'm making a list of names and email addresses so I can send out thank yous and tell our guests how much it meant to us to have them there. I know I won't be BF or BFF (what does those mean anyhow?) with all of them, but I do know I'll be friends with more of them. It was a wonderful way to meet some wonderful Charlotteans.

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