Wow. Kathy and Charlie put out one heck of a spread. We got there around 4:30, which was fine. A lot of people were already there, but just as many people arrived after we did. It was appropriate to bring a bottle of wine. Others did, too. Kathy swears that Charlie loves his Christmas parties, but I could swear she does most of the work involved. They had to have caterers do at least 2/3 of it, and she did all the elaborate decorating. I think all she left up to Charlie was where to set up the bar tables, and lay out the booze — the wine bar in one room, and the beer and hard liquor out on the back patio.
They were such gracious hosts, and everyone we met there was very nice. Several people there knew the previous owners of our house, and a few of them had even been inside it a time or two. Everyone knew which house was ours when I said “literally across the street from the end of this driveway is ours.” The hosts are ~10 years older than we are. As far as parties go, this one was fairly informal, despite the trouble they went to, to host it. That suited me fine. Velvet and silk wouldn’t have looked too ridiculous, but corduroy and an Aran knit sweater was just fine.
The only part that got a bit dicey was dashing across the street from our driveway to theirs, and back again after dark; the road has a 50mph speed limit, and not everybody obeys it. But, who in the hell drives across the street, just to avoid climbing a really steep long driveway that probably should have a ski lift? No wonder Charlie drives his lawnmower down to his mailbox and back.
That is one heck of a hill, and at the top, there are still something like 30 steps to climb to get to the front door. Who needs a gym membership when you can do that? Besides, walking around my own yard gives me a pretty good workout.
The best news is that Charlie took us up on our offer of half a cord of cured hardwood fire wood (mostly maple and walnut). All we have to do is load it onto a trailer and tractor it across the street, giving Kathy a call ahead of time to alert them. We know where they store their wood (Charlie showed us), but adding it to their stack without their knowing we stopped by with it would be a bit weird. I’m thrilled to know they like to use their wood burning stove as much as we do ours. At least the sparks don’t go flying onto the carpet as they would from an open fireplace.