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Monday, April 9, 2012

Birthday Party

PARTY LIKE CLOCKWORK
Recently, we attended an elegant, festive birthday party and we share the experience with you - as a story. No names, no specific details - read between the lines - embellish and enjoy. 

Entering the block-long town bus, I scooted next to the birthday celebrant, lifted the back of my tux jacket and sat back. Ahead of me, other celebrants side-saddled in two long lines along each side of the car. Starry lights, above their combed and well-coiffed heads, gently flickered in alternating soft colors. We were on our way.
Traffic, then a detour, kept us from arriving unfashionably early. We pulled up to the Mullin Automotive Museum, poured out, posed to the flashes of a camera, and officially entered the party. We had arrived.
Mullin Automotive Museum
Once inside, the polish and sheen of dozens of classic cars dazzled our eyes: a 1938 Dubonnet Xenia, a 1922 Renault 40 CV Type JV, a 1938 Bugatti 57C ATA Atalante, a 1938 Talbot Lago T150 and more. I learned later, that the objective of the museum is to pay  "...homage to the art deco and the machine age - eras that produced exquisite art and magnificent automobiles. The museum is home to the finest historic French automobiles from the Bugatti to the Voisin as well as significant and representative decorative art from the 1920s and 1930s." This was a party venue fit for a classic car enthusiast. Perfect.
Women were dressed in glamorous gowns and cocktail dresses, while men wore their finest tuxedos - each differentiated with fancifully colored bow ties.
Live music and the chatter of spirited conversation filled the cavernous space. Guests, cocktails in hand, renewed old friendships, recalling stories from the past - laughing, sparkling, tilting with sybaritic delight.
The daughter of the celebrant, also the party planner, a beautiful blond woman with vibrant eyes and smile, held everything in her sight, making sure all went as planned. It did.

Sitting at our table were two young career women, two photographer-authors, the party planner and the son of a dear friend. We dined, drank, chatted with each other as our eyes collected fragments of information about other guests from our tucked-away corner of the room.
Speeches were made. One talented orator regaled us with stories from the celebrant's past. We smiled, laughed and visualized each scene, weaving ourselves into the rich tapestry of his words - the warp and weft of linen threads, blended into a densely textured work of art.
As the evening progressed with music, dancing, a variety of desserts, I thought about the Robert Browning poem, "Andrea del Sarto" (1855) where we first come upon the phrase, "less is more":
Who strive - you don't know how the others strive
To paint a little thing like that you smeared
Carelessly passing with your robes afloat,-
Yet do much less, so much less, Someone says,
(I know his name, no matter) - so much less!
Well, less is more, Lucrezia.
An overused line, I think it best not mentioned in relation to parties. Certainly, more is best. From black tie formal wear to highly polished classic automobiles to caviar, all was impeccable. Remove an element - art is destroyed. Much like the tapestry woven from the orator's words, the assembling of elements is complete at the start. The cake comes into being by combining ingredients, cooking for fifty minutes, until done. Concept manifested.
As we bent ourselves into the mile-long limo for the drive home, the celebration began melting into memory as sound, smell, touch, taste and sight. I rolled myself into bed, fading into the night, dreaming sensual image fragments of partying like clockwork.

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