Tom and I had dozens of parties; some crazier than others. Most of them had themes, which often were Tom’s creations. He had a knack for coming up with party ideas and successfully executing them. I was his sidekick and a good host as well. But he had the party charisma.
A few successful bashes that come to mind: a backyard bocce ball party, a St. Patty’s limerick contest that revealed guests’ raunchier side, a Halloween decorate a pumpkin party that got out of hand with people tossing pumpkins in the living room, a Saints and Sinners party (dress as your favorite saint or sinner), his crazy 40th birthday, my surprise 50th birthday at a bar downtown, a-come-dressed-as-Tom’s next career (dreamed up when he was unemployed) and one of our standards – the chili cook-off parties. Tom would present with gusto the awards for hottest, best and most original chili. In fact, no matter what the theme, there was always an awards presentation with Tom front and center delivering his witty banter and getting lots of laughs.
So when he died, that part of my life went away. Other than having some close friends over for dinner or a drink, I have hosted no parties and I rarely entertain. Last year, I planned to resurrect the chili cook-off party, which included my kids and their friends, but I fell ill and canceled the party. I have not rescheduled; I don’t have it in me.
Will I resume giving parties? I might. Having a partner would bring back that desire. Or I’d be happy to host a party with the help of my kids or a couple good friends. With time, I just might produce a theme party on my own. But Tom’s enthusiasm seems impossible to duplicate and hosting without him still makes me sad. He put his heart and soul into our parties, which would often go into the wee hours.
I remember vividly, so often when the last guest left, I’d be burned out and the house would be a mess. It would be late, so I would go to bed and try to sleep. Meanwhile, Tom would stay up until 3 or 4 a.m. cleaning until the kitchen was spotless and every room was tidy. “Don’t you love waking up and finding everything in order?” he’d ask. I always thought I would rather have had him go to bed with me, and we could have cleaned up together the next day. But that’s just the way it went.
I’m glad I have albums full of photos to serve as reminders of all those fun and sometimes crazy gatherings with family and friends. But I cannot help feeling melancholy that those Tom and Marti party productions are over for good.