During a quick stop at a couple of party stores last weekend, it was interesting to see what the owners thought constituted basic “party” stock. I was looking for a few seasonal things, and was surprised that they didn’t have them but instead found a wealth of party items I’m not sure I would have ever looked for.
Hanging from the shelves were nautical items -- plastic life preservers and sailor hats; giant plastic drama masks; steer heads; Hawaiian luau skirts and leis, and rock and roll items. Remember dangling dice?
A lot of the products in the stores are geared toward kids’ parties. There are rows and rows of various sets of small items (bracelets, noise makers, sunglasses, GI Joe figures), designed to fill children’s party bags to the brim.
Seeing them, I had to take the proverbial tour down memory lane back to when we used to have birthday parties for our sons. In those days I had the unenviable job of filling up a bunch of party bags with tempting items that the children could ooh and ah over. It always seemed like a waste of money and maybe it still does to young parents.
This summer we attended a Fiesta party (one of the current themes at the party stores) to celebrate the birthdays of two of our neighbors. Their children – all six of them – had planned this party from across the globe where they all live. It was lovely.
Since we had such a good time at the fiesta, it started me thinking how there just aren’t that many parties anymore, or at least we aren’t invited to many. When the children were younger, who had time to throw a Big Bash? There were too many other events -- children’s events -- to conflict. Our energy levels could only handle so much. But now that the kids are grown, it could be party season all year round for us Boomers. And just think of the themes we could plan for: The Beverly Hillbillies, Disco Fever, Flower Children Days, Ken Kesey Bus Trips… Now wouldn’t that be fun?
This weekend we are having some family in for dinner and then we are going to a one woman show featuring an actress playing a nun and teaching Catechism to the audience. It promises to be hilarious; something fun that we should do more often.
Gazing at all the party items for sale last weekend, I had to wonder what my theme should be for this gathering. Broadway? Casino Night? Jimmy Buffet and Parrots? Or Rubber Chickens on Display? Sigh. My energy level was flagging once again.
I settled for the old standby: An excellent birthday cake (white with butter cream frosting) for our son Dan who will be home for the first time since his birthday.
Is that being lazy or worse, uncreative? Maybe, but for Boomers who have seen all the Mardi Gras beads they ever want to, there's nothing like a great cake to say Par-teé.
By Teresa K. Flatley