We attended the first party for Older Son and FDIL last night, a "tailgate party" given and attended by a number of both high school and college friends, as well as a few of us older folks.
It was, as we had expected, great fun, and kind of enforced the reality that this wedding is really going to happen. Since October we have talked about it a lot but when I saw their name in print on a party invitation, then attended said party, well, as I said, it just became more real.
It was great to see many of Older Son's old friends last night -- guys and girls who have been fixtures in our lives for a number of years now, including a few who used to eat quite a few meals at our house back in Older Son's high school days and many who, during the college years, spent nights here on weekend trips to Nashville and helped cement Wife's reputation as unequaled hostess and chef.
I look at them and think of them as much younger than they are (and I think of myself that way too!) but, when I hear about their jobs, professional schools, houses and/or marriages (or approaching marriages), I quickly realize they are moving on with life (just as I am).
The house where we attended the party is owned by Older Son's friend who, for the sake of this blog post, I'll call "TM." TM was one of the regulars around here during high school. He also went to Auburn with Older Son and they pledged the same fraternity. Older Son was in his wedding in Atlanta in December 2009 and he'll be standing up with Older Son in June.
TM and his wife were the consummate hosts last night. There were delicious appetizers served up in dishes with the Auburn or football theme, beer and other drinks iced down in tubs and coolers, a "tailgate punch" (that Older Son in advance had wisely suggested Wife and I avoid) and delicious barbecue -- truly a replication of the tailgate experience. All we needed was a football game!
TM made a brief but lovely speech before dinner, expressing what Older Son had meant to him over the years and wishing him and FDIL a long and happy marriage. Later in the evening he, Wife and I laughed and reminisced about days gone by -- the time we had a snow day their junior year in high school and he came home with Older Son and stayed three days; the way he would open our refrigerator and see what might be available; and how he might call us after school to see what Wife might be cooking for dinner that night. We also helped him make his campaign posters when he ran for (and was elected as) Student Body President.
He gave us a hard time for having already given Younger Son permission to attend a four-day open air music festival this summer, lamenting the fact that he and Older Son would have never been allowed to make such a journey at that age. I quickly reminded him of a spring break trip to Panama City Beach they took as seniors in OUR van (what were we thinking?!).
There were many similar conversations throughout the night with many we had gotten to know as teenagers, who now we know as adults. They are still as polite as ever, calling us Mr. or Mrs. McKinney, saying sir and ma'am, even though they are now becoming more like peers and would be welcome to call us by our first names.
Older Son has a rich heritage. I know he felt honored and blessed at the amazing turnout of friends to wish him well.
Wife and I certainly felt that for him and FDIL. We were also honored to be there and we feel blessed to count all these folks as our friends too.