Every New Year's Eve my husband and I have a party. We've known each other 20 years and been married for 16 of them. We have only had to cancel once due to illness and that was this last one. The reason for my parties is that my grandmother was born on January 1, 1900 at 1 minute after midnight. She was officially the first baby of the century in the state of New Jersey. During childhood, we always attended the first hour of her parties and then were sent home with babysitters as the party escalated for the grown ups.
Grandma Sadie was very successful and had influential friends many of whom were politicians or other business people. Grandpa would schmooze. The party was always catered with little ice creams made in special shapes and other fancy hors d'oevres. At midnight Grandma would blow out the candles and welcome the new, or so I was told.
I was very close to my grandmother. If she were alive today, she would be the biggest fan of my writing as she was even when I wrote a poem back in my youth. She was very proud of me and it showed.
To recriprocate, I continue to celebrate her birthday at my home. All my friends know that the New Year's Eve Party is at our house so they bring covered dishes and bottles of wine. We play silly games and socialize. We've had as few as 6 people and as many as 40 (and this is not a large home).
This year I am planning a different party. Although there is some level of preparing to be done, it seems relatively easy. A phone call to book the club on a Sunday afternoon. Some calls and emails to book live entertainment and request specific music. The most important thing that needs to be done is to let everyone know there will be a party and I'm working on that.
It will not be a birthday party. This November 1 at 4 PM, I have put together a Tribute to Leroy Cooper at BB Kings Orlando Club. Leroy's musician friends and former bandmates will play for free. The club is providing us with the space for free. Admission will be free. We will all be there for one reason, to pay tribute to this beloved, talented man who brought us joy through his music and his stories. There will be a box of tissues on every table (two on mine) and we will remember him.
His memoir will be at the party and will be available for sale, but book sales have taken a back seat to the main focus of the event: the Tribute.