Chapter Six: Let's Party!

It was now July 2007 and the heat of summer had settled into the region. Allison was born on August 20, 1982. Her 25’th birthday would be coming up soon. This would be a landmark birthday and knowing that she had a limited number of birthdays left I decided to throw a party second to none. Saturday August 18’th would be the best day to have the party. We had lost a lot of people through the years but I managed to put together a list of about 25-30 possible guests. I sent out invitations and received mostly affirmative responses. Folks would be coming from Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire, and Georgia! One person who didn’t respond was my mother. I decided to give her a little more time.

I planned to have a cookout on the large deck that now housed the hot tub. The deck could easily accommodate thirty people and was the perfect venue for a late August party. I did not have enough seats for everyone and purchased four wooden benches at the Shedman, a local business where I had purchased my Amish built garage the year before. I started to think of things I could plan that would make this event extra special.

The home offered a large array of entertainers. Allison and I very much enjoyed Richard, a comedian, storyteller, and impressionist who performed monthly. I asked Richard if he could perform at Allison’s party. We agreed on his fee and Richard  was scheduled to come entertain the guests. I started to plan a menu which was easy because of my catering background at the store. As the party date neared, I shopped for food and drinks. I ordered a specialty cake from a bakery in Pittsfield. I wanted this event to be perfect. We would be seeing some folks we hadn’t seen in years and some we might never see again.

As the date neared I had still not heard from my mother. I called her and heard doubletalk that would make any interrogee proud. She might come, but she might not. She was well, but she really wasn’t. It was a long ride, but not that long. I wanted her to come, but I really didn’t. I explained to her that her first born granddaughter was dying and that it was very important that she come. I called cousin Cynthia whom my mother adored more than anyone on earth and who had already RSVP’d affirmatively. Cynthia said she would make sure that my mother came.

Midge flew into Newburg, her budget airport two hours to the south. Rob, who was now living in New Jersey, was kind enough to pick her up. Marisa, an old high school friend of Allison’s came with her mother. Allison’s Aunt Norma and Uncle Bob came from New Hampshire. Craig and his wife came from Massachusetts.  Alice came from the home. Fred and his parents came from Rhode Island. Cynthia and my mother were the last to arrive and the first to leave citing how far they had travelled. Most everyone else had come from points further.

The party was great and everybody, including my mother, seemed to have a wonderful time. Richard gave a standout performance that went well beyond the time we had agreed to. Folks were dancing and whooping it up. The food was great, the weather was perfect. It was a day Allison would never forget. I was so glad that I did it. After everyone had left we still had Midge to entertain for the next week. This was Midge’s third visit to Stephentown and we kept her busy. We drove Midge back to Newburgh and waited for what life brought next.