Every other year my grandparents hosted a Christmas party at their country club, something they had done for years, before I was born, before my father was born I believe. As a child this was a magical night, what seemed to be millions of people, all dressed up, an orchestra and dancing, waiters with trays of every kind of food imaginable, and all the Shirley Tempels I could drink. When it would snow the view out the dining room windows onto the golf course was the most beautiful thing I could imagine, this is what Christmas looked like.
Imagine this with snow, and lights, and a big wreath on the front door. That's it.
One year in high school I took my friends Debbie and Colby to the party with me. Were they on a date? I did sit in the back seat, was I the odd one out at my own party? Why did we all go together? Oddest date at the family party?
Oh dear no, my teenage father wins this contest. Dad and his high school date didn't go to the same school, in fact, my guess would be that Dad's date was several years out of high school, employed, perhaps had a family of her own. And when they walked in the large front door of the club my grandmother about fell into her Manhattan. As the story goes my dad and his friend Bob had dates lined up and something tragic happened, as is often the case when you are a high school boy with young dating intentions. Rather than show up as Bob and Bill they did a quick search through the phone book, found a phone number for an escort service and rang up, two dates please to be picked up on Independence Avenue. Terribly innocent I am sure, this is my father we are remembering, but imagine the look on the faces of those who greeted them when they walked in to the always festively decorated front hall. Apparently it was quite clear immediately that these ladies were not Bill and Bob's regular gals.
I'm certain my grandmother wanted to hang her eldest, run him right up the flag pole in the circle drive, but years later, years, she found great humor in this story. As did my grandfather who certainly appreciated Dad's resourcefulness, and loved, just a bit, the smart the entire episode gave my always appropriate grandmother. My date(s) provided no such sting.