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Many Years

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Mom and dad had their party on Sunday afternoon and evening. As I’ve mentioned before, this party is an annual tradition going back to my early teen years, which means we’ve probably been doing this for close to 30 years. That in itself is amazing, but what’s more amazing is the legacy of it all.

Oh, I don’t mean to sound so stupidly sentimental, but think of this: at its start, Julie and I helped mom in the kitchen to cook and replenish the wonderful foods that mom put out for the spread. This year, Patrick was the lead kitchen staff person.

I’ve done this for so long that I know the routine and can feel the rhythm of the kitchen. And always, some of the partygoers would find their way into the kitchen to talk, watch the process, or just check up on things. So it was this year: I helped Patrick out, primarily because cooking all of this food and getting it out and trying to not run out of things is daunting even when you’re used to it, let alone trying to time it out on your own for the first time.

The same faces have been there over that time, though thinned out in number for a wide variety of reasons. And several of them stop me and just comment on my own kids and how much they’ve grown. It’s a weird thing when you think of it: most of these people only see me this one time each year, so they have watched me grow up one day a year for 30 years. And I’ve watched them all grow up or grow older by the same measure.

The party started at the house where I grew up, and it was a holiday party to start, so it was in December, where the winter weather could be alarmingly fickle: some years it could be 30-40 degrees outside; in other years, it could be 10 below zero, and every time the door opened to let in or out someone new, this steamy cloud of ground fog would wash across the floor. For the past seventeen years or something, it’s been at the condo, making for a different experience, but one that still is a joy to behold. In fact, helping out in the kitchen this year was fun because it gives you the chance to just sit back and watch the party unfold in front of you.

And that brings us back to the food. The food was amazing, as usual: sliced pork with a wasabi mayo, spanakopita, the chicken rolls, steamed shrimp and pork appetizers, and those delightful mushroom puffs. No, the food isn’t the only reason I like having the party, but it sure is one of the best reasons for going. Well, that and seeing family and friends for that one time a year.

So happy Chinese New Year to all of you. Hope to see those of you who are the party regulars back there next year.

See you tomorrow.