Saturday, December 5, 2009

Bird of paradise

The question is...when you are the mother of the groom, do you REALLY have to be quiet, wear beige and do as you're told? Answer....Let's ask my buddy Molly, who has done it with fire and style.

Molly is like a Bird of Paradise - that remarkable unfolding flower. The more she opens up, the more color and passion you see. And she doesn't hesitate to share that fire.

Molly is ALL about the PEOPLE. That right there makes a good hostess. Also a good mother, sister, wife...and for me, friend.

A few years ago I met Molly and her daughter -remarkably named Molly - when young Molly got married. I helped them plan her late spring wedding. It was a fine affair, and fun was had by all. Molly remembers that there was an air conditioning problem that day - and a vivid memory we share is that my husband worked so hard that his dress shirt was soaked with sweat. Also, our Young Son was about 10, and worked as hard as his Dad. I pray that's not the most vivid memory of that wedding day....just the most vivid memory she shares with me. Not only was it a beautiful day, and a lovely gathering, but the planning was fun. I really love both Mollies.

Molly has one daughter and two sons.( And someone else in that picture. I can still count.) And what was the likelihood of TWO of her children, neither natives of my hometown, marrying here? Slim.
Young Molly did what brides do... babies, then she moved out of town, so.... our paths not to cross again, perhaps? Probable by statistics.

Not so, my friend. Her son found himself a local bride, and Molly called in the early stages of planning HER party. Some call it a Rehearsal Dinner - but in Molly's case, we will call it wedding-eve love-bash. Plus. Plus + plus.

Molly knows exactly what she wants when she sees it. So, we investigated a lot of places...but she didn't see 'it'. Then we found it, but it didn't look right. She wanted fall colors, lamb chops, no visible beer bottles, and no gourds or pumpkins. She repeatedly told me "You know what I want." Yes, indeed I did.
When I asked her if she wanted some music, she said "There'll be so many people talking . . . We don't need music. We have each other."

How then can one plan a party when someone is in one town and the party is in another? Good question. E-mail. Telephone. Text. Starbucks. Trust.

Sample monthly exchange, June through October:
Molly: I haven't heard from you. Are we OK?
Me: We're good! How do you feel?
Molly: I'm fine if you're fine.
Me: We're in great shape.
Molly:No gourds, no pumpkins.
Me: Right, no gourds, no pumpkins.
So we had a party. I did my part which was the rich fall colors, no pumpkins, no gourds, lambchops and no visible beer bottles. She did her part which was PEOPLE. Everytime I looked up, I saw her at a table leaned over and talking to someone. I looked up later, and saw her at another table, then another, and another. The music of conversation and laughter carried the evening.

These things make her a genuine southern hostess (I guess it could be a non-southern hostess, but with a south-Mississippi home, and a deep allegiance to Ole Miss, let the 'southern' stand):

She greeted each guest at each table and had a conversation. Not a passing hello, a conversation.

She did NOT make strangers sit together. Tables were friends and family.

Molly made sure that her guests had fun, but had fun left for the next day - the wedding.

She went back to the kitchen to meet the caterers and servers and thanked each of them.

It was a family party, and everyone had a responsibility, everyone. It was NOT "The Molly Show." That takes some planning, and most of all, confidence in those people you know the best. Grace in action. Molly in action.

She thanked the bartender for the 'no-visible-beer-bottle' thing.
She did not make her young granddaughter come to the wedding eve party, or for that matter walk down the aisle the next day.

More important that baby-girl's memories of the night were the hazy, fond memories of a little girl at a really crazy party, than that she was shown-off in her total adorableness, which speaks for itself.

Molly made sure our Young Son ate. She let her son take home some left-overs.

She told every single guest good-bye as they left. Hugged most. Even if she didn't know them.

She served fried oysters, because you know...they're south Mississippi oyster-types. Case closed.
If you want to have a party - take some pointers from Molly. It's all about the people. A wedding eve love-bash it was. With fried oysters and a bird of paradise.

No comments: