Monday, May 28, 2007

Happy(?) Memorial Day

We Americans will use any excuse to party.

One would think a holiday intended to honor the country's war dead would be solemn in tone. Perhaps emotional. Even understated. Well, it is all of those things, but over the years, Memorial Day weekend has also become the unofficial start of summer. Which means parties.

Being the patriotic girl that I am, every year at this time I go to Tom, Nick and Chris' annual Memorial Day weekend barbecue. In fact, I believe myself to be the only guest that has attended all ten of these yearly affairs. Tom is the only one of the hosts to have attended all ten, as well. So of course, he and I had to snap this photo at last night's festivities.

Back in 1998, Tom and his then-roommates Valerie and Wendy had a small barbecue on Memorial Day for their theatre crowd friends, of which I was one. Through the years, the roommates residing with Tom in his Potrero Hill flat have changed, but the party has remained a constant. The only change was the move of party date from Memorial Day to the day before Memorial Day. Oh, there was one other change. In 2002 they actually had the party in June because of holiday weekend conflicts among the hosts, but that didn't go over very well. It worked out for me because I had been at my ten-year reunion at Brown during Memorial Day weekend that year, but overall, 2002 did not yield the most successful Memorial Day party.

Flash forward to 2007, and the party has grown exponentially. I would guess about 15 people attended the first gathering in 1998, but this year, Tom, Nick and Chris invited about 400 people. Obviously not everyone could attend, but Tom, Nick and Chris managed to corral a rather healthy crowd into their backyard. The guests come from all walks of life these days, too, as opposed to just the theatre community.

The party is about 12 hours long, and this year I took in the evening portion of the affair because I had to work during the day yesterday. Once safely nestled into the celebration, I indulged in delicious snacks and got to hang out with not only my hosts but also with Valerie, Kevin, Adam, Eric, Andrey, Irina and tons of others. Plus, as is the case every year, I met some fun, creative new people, too. The backyard featured all the snacks and drinks we could want, as well as a DJ (a first for the Memorial Day party); while guests were treated to extra warmth, portable karaoke and Nintendo Wii inside.

I made it through about five hours of the 12-hour extravaganza, but it was a good five hours. I look forward to the party for Memorial Day weekend 2008.

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