Monday, June 02, 2008

Engagement Party

Last weekend, Aviva and I went down to her parents house in Cherry Hill for the first of what may be several engagement parties. We weren't going to have one, but once we realized that this was a great way to get our families together and once that thought came up the idea just seemed better and better. Plus we would get to spend time with Dylan, Aviva's adorable nephew, something that always gives us both a smile.

Tanya and Bucky, Aviva's parents, were incredibly generous and offered to let us bring everyone together at their house. After a bit of negotiation about the date, we decided that the end of May, exactly 1 year before our wedding, was a great time to get together.

The whole weekend was fantastic. We started on Friday night, meeting my Aunt Debbie at the Met for a lecture by Oliver Sacks called the Minds' Eye. It was great, kind of a "fireside chat" between Dr. Sacks and some interviewer from NPR ... if you can call a conversation on a stage in the Met in front of a large crowd a chat. They discussed what it was like for Dr. Sacks to have lost his stereo vision due to a tumor in his left eye, it was really fascinating ... more so because Aviva has recently taken several classes on vision at Ferkauf and was able to answer many of our questions afterwards.

We dropped Debbie off downtown and headed back to Cherry Hill, arriving late and then getting up early the next day. My dad and Peg had flown in from California because they are awesome and we spent the day hanging out. Aviva and Peg went wedding accessory shopping while my dad and I just kind of hung out at the house, and then everyone got together for a family dinner in the evening ... Aviva's mom Tanya made breast of veal, it was delicious, she is such an excellent chef ... and everyone had a wonderful time. I even got a picture of Papa Stranger smiling, trust me, a rarity. But the meal was very heavy and soon after such a rich dinner everyone was tired and it was quickly called a night, though I stayed up to wait for my friends Scott and Michele who were coming in from DC. they arrived quite late, around midnight, with their daughter Calla, and Scott and I walked Calla around the block until around 130 am when she fell asleep.

I was really excited about Sunday and did not sleep all that well, and when we got up around 0830 the caterers were already getting set up, so Scott, Michele, Aviva and I took Calla and Aviva's nephew Dylan to a nearby park for a while. Watching the kids run around on the structure, play on the swings and coast down the slides was great. After a good amount of play, we got back to Aviva's parents place and changed quickly. Aviva got into a gorgeous yellow dress (which Laurie would later show up mimicking), and I put on a rumpled green short sleeve button up. When we came downstairs, I walked into the living room to say hello to Charlotte, Aviva's grandmother, and this conversation occurred,

Charlotte, "Are you going to change?"

PJ, "I already did."

Charlotte, "But don't you want to look at least a little nice, so that you can match Aviva?"

Variants of this conversation were repeated by various people throughout the day ... when my cousin Amanda came in she said, "I told Alex [her husband] that you would be wearing shorts, but I thought you might at least iron your shirt." It was my party (partially at least) and I figured I could wear what I wanted to, but I have to admit, the ladies looked much nicer than I did :)

The day was incredible. People I love just kept showing up, family fromNew York, and friends and parents, it was so awesome. The party was catered and the food was great, but the real pleasure was the company. Dave and Em were in town from California, my aunts, uncles and cousins from New York, my parents ... To see all these people who I care about so much in the same place, interacting with each other, talking and laughing and enjoying themselves together, it was amazing. And to see them all interacting with Aviva's family, my new family, well ... the joy of it was beyond words. As far as I can tell, everyone had an absolute blast. It was so much fun, talking with everyone ... almost every time I turned around, there was someone else to talk with who I couldn't wait to chat with.I know Aviva did, and that I did as well.

The party was catered, and the food was delicious. Bagels and all sorts of smoked fish, veggies, wraps, omelette bar and fabulous deserts ... everyone loved it. There had been minor issues with the drinks, as the kosher catering company required a special kind of wine (boiled grapes, mulvushel wine, quite new for me), but other than the wine the booze was also excellent. Bucky outdid himself, as usual, and quite a number of excellent scotches, tequilas, rums and other drinks were had downstairs at the bar in the basement. And the service was excellent, even a bit too excellent, as the head caterer followed me around all day picking up my plates and glasses and refilling them as soon as I put them down, a tad creepy ...

The day seemed to end almost as soon as it started. As people started to drift out, and the crowd thinned down, Aviva and I ended up sitting in the backyard with Dave, Em, and a bunch of Aviva's friends. After a while, as people started to fade out, Em took off and I drove Dave back to the trains station so he could get back to DC. When I got back to Aviva's most everyone was gone, so Aviva and I said our goodbyes, loaded up the car and headed back to New York.

Fantastic weekend.

No comments: