When Mike and I lived in Portland, we threw hum-dinger Winter Solstice parties. We played ‘60s Christmas record albums scrounged from estate sales, projected the original Grinch cartoon on a wall in the kitchen, and walked around with trays of freezer-cold shots of Rumple Minze in our grandmothers’ crystal cordial glasses.
As the first winter in our new home in the country approached, we did the math: copious liquor + driving 70 miles + sunset at 4:30 = DUIs and possibly blood on our hands.
We decided to switch to a Summer Solstice party.
Success! The parties started in the afternoon for the children’s-bedtime-slaves and continued late into the night for the rest of us. We grilled like mothereffers: Sausages! Salmon! Veggies! Veggie sausages! Whatever people brought, Mike or my dad slapped on the grill.
In the evening there was a fire. The first year, we had an enormous bonfire fed by downed trees and unsalvageable lumber (documented by Pete in an earlier blog post). Subsequent years, with drier weather, brought smaller fires in a metal fire ring in the middle of the driveway.
The year of our final Solstice party, in 2009, Klickitat County’s burn-ban started extra-early. There could be no open flame of any kind, not even in the middle of the driveway. Undaunted, Mike set out an oversized 1970s table lamp, connected to a string of electrical cords, and surrounded it with chairs. Humans, primal creatures that we are, surrounded the “lamp-fire” all night.
We moved our car and pick-up out of the garage to make room for strawbale seating, potluck dish tables, and games. We tried to set up croquet but our ground, even on the “lawn,” was too bumpy; it was too windy for badminton. Ping pong and foosball, on the other hand, lasted well into the night.
The beauty of throwing a party at your house isn’t limited to living in the country: You can get as junked as you want—because you’re already home! The beauty of throwing a party on your own land is that your friends can be there, too. When the sun finally set over our cedars and firs, the tents went up around the fields. A few people popped the tops on their campers. A few slept on the living room floor. All were welcome; it was much better than trying to drive home.