Deep down, I fear I am a cookie and punch entertainer. When I go to the Dollar Tree store, in which everything costs one dollar, I see all the off-brand and exotic cookies, and think "those would be nice for a party". These cookies, after all, are usually cookies from foreign lands with great bakeries, like Denmark or the Netherlands or almost anywhere. I imagine them laid out on nice trays on simple school-type tables, covered with white paper.
I have never hosted my idea of the ideal party, but it would feature a rented room, tables of cookies and of fresh carrots and celery sans dip, and one of those curious drinks which features the taste of sugar but no actual sugar. Perhaps a folk singer or chamber quartet would play, or perhaps there would be an audio-visual show with interesting pictures screened while electronic music gently droned. The function would be "open house", so that people could come and go at will. The function would be held in the afternoon, because I think that the joys of matinee' living are often overlooked.
I have this notion in mind--a party I will never host--because I just visited an elaborate-and-well-done website where I could register for a multi-class 30th reunion at my high school. My actual high school does not exist anymore, having been absorbed into a neighboring school district. Yet we are having a reunion, lo these many years later. The puzzling thing is that our reunion is not in the town where I went to high school, but instead 100 miles away in Little Rock, the state capitol. I like Little Rock--I went to law school there. Yet this reunion is not a cookie-and-punch reunion. It features two "events".
One event is a casual get-together at a Mexican restaurant. The other event is a rather nice dinner at a rather nice restaurant, with a more general get-together soon thereafter. I just went and signed up for everything. Although it was not truly expensive, I think it is safe to say that mountains of Dollar Tree foreign cookies could have been purchased for the price of admission and registration for two.
I look forward to being in Little Rock again. It has great restaurants and lots of things to see and do.
In particular, I look forward to driving to nearby Pinnacle Mountain, a small mountain ideal for hiking. One climbs this mountain and sits on rocks and stares off into the Arkansas River Valley. It's a good antidote to stress and worry.
The last time I climbed Pinnacle Mountain, it was enveloped in a thick fog. I loved watching the wisps swirl around me, and the way that everything was muffled and indistinct. High school memories are a bit like that, now. Some people are really popular in high school Some people are really rebellious in high school. Some people are really this or that. I was really "none of the above". I was just a fellow who lived my days, attending this school with other folks living their days.
It will be fun to see people. It will be fun to see if I manage to accidentally say something awkward or impolite. It will be fun to trade stories. If there is any one constant to any group of Arkansas people, it is that they are all story-tellers. In the small-town south, people pass the time telling stories. It was a bit like low-tech weblogging. I'll be interested to hear other stories, and perhaps share a few. Sometimes, I have learned, even after decades, the fog lifts. Sometimes, you talk to someone, and you see from your own mountain the expanse of their story, as it winds through the river valley and off into the horizon. Then you wish you had a cookie from Belgium, and a glass of strawberry punch.