BBQ party inviteI had a friend who loved to throw parties. And I was lucky enough to have gotten invited to many of them. She almost never threw a party without a theme, even if it was just a random thought that somehow turned into a brilliant idea. Her party theme idea always involved some sort of game we had to play, a piece of clothing we had to wear to be admitted or something we had to prepare before we came, like being able to sing our school fight song, or being prepared to answer a question about something that happened in our past. Whatever it was, it was always personal and always embarrassing. While it was a lot of work to go to her parties, it was always worth it. And the memories are priceless.

She never invited more people than could fit on her backyard deck or around her dining room table. And she always mixed up the guest list, including a few people each time who were new to the group. The ones who didn’t cooperate, or who couldn’t handle the party theme idea weren’t invited back. Sounds harsh, but she wanted to surround herself with fun-loving people, so that’s what she did. You could always tell the ones who had staying power. And some of these newbies have become our very good friends.

Maybe you can tell by my use of the past tense, that my friend is no longer with us. She died of cancer several years ago. And about this time every year, on the first day that it feels warm enough to sit outside late into the evening, I think of her and miss her deeply. That girl sure knew how to party. Right now she’s got the folks in heaven digging up a tie-dye t-shirt to wear to her BBQ.