Precisely one week ago today, Kyle and I were in a mad dash to complete a lot of preparations, made easier by the presence of some early-comers to our Annual New Year’s Party. New Year’s has become an annual thing for Kyle and me. You may think I’m joking when I say that Kyle starts making plans for this thing in August of each year.
The history of this annual shindig dates back to when 2001 became 2002, I suppose. My best friend Anna and I rode to Hampton to spend a quiet weekend with Kyle and his extended family. It was a very small beginning, which included Anna and I losing to Kyle and Mack (his stepdad) at Spades. I was a spoiled-sport because they introduced house rules in the middle of the game. But whatever. I’m over it.
The following year, Anna and I packed it up and headed back to Hampton. This time, Kyle and I had the idea that Anna should meet our friend Matt. They met. Matt was charming. (But it didn’t work out.) Philip was also there. This was the year that we began to see Philip’s love of fireworks coming out in him. We bought them and Anna and I ended up watching from inside. Boys and their Roman Candles. Will they ever grow up? On January 1, we all watched LOTR: The Fellowship of the Ring and then went to the movie theater to see The Two Towers. Kyle and I were engaged that night.
The following year, we were still not married yet, and Kyle was living in Greenville. So the party grew to include his roommate, Andrew. Anna brought her brother, JJ. There were several other people — added to those who had been the year before. This year, there was Cranium — which we all hated. Kyle had asked for white chocolate covered pretzels, so … that with chips and salsa was probably the extent of our “buffet”. Oh yes. And I believe this was the year of the peach-flavored champagne that so tainted our spirits. I understand it was gross, though I did not partake. And, of course, fireworks. We shot them off in an apartment complex parking lot across the street from Kyle’s apartment. It was freezing. The girls watched from the back of someone’s Blazer.
And the next year, we were married. As 2004 turned to 2005, we celebrated in The Mission House, the house Kyle and I were renting at the time. Matt and Philip and JJ and some other family and friends from our area came over. We played Halo on the big screen in the church we were living behind. And THIS was the year of the H Bomb. This firework filled the entire empty lot between the house we were renting and the neighbor’s house. We all stood with our mouth’s hanging open while it went off for what seemed like a full minute. We played Taboo. Jonathan Edwards dropped the notorious F-Bomb which we still chuckle about from time to time. And during this entire party, our dog was missing. Kyle and I took turns riding the bike all over town calling out for her.
And in 2005, we were in our “new” house. Lots of friends came down from Greenville. There was a repeat performance of the H Bomb. There was more food. And we played Poker until 6 AM. (And just for the record and not because I’m bragging, but the winner was the female hostess of the party.) I remember there being a little “I Heart Huckabees” earlier in the evening, but I’m pretty sure the poker game was the “big event” that year.
And in 2006, it was a similar story, only that year, add in a little Ben McGowan and a whole lotta Wii. We got our money’s worth out of Rayman’s Raving Rabbids at that party! There was lots of food and a few more new people. Add in a little Arrested Development and you’ve got a party!
And in 2007. We were contacting all of our friends to let them know of our plans when Jonathan Edwards said, “Man, this is going to be like Polkapalooza!” And the term stuck. Polkapalooza it definitely was. You see, 2007 has been a good year for we Polks. We added QUITE a few new friends to the guest list and were somewhat concerned about how everyone would fit into our little house. Enter Clay Jernigan and you’ve got:
The thing about marrying a talented man is that he also has talented friends. We have been able to surround ourselves with a community of people who have great musical and artistic talents. “Polkapalooza” was, if nothing else, a night for great music and poetry and fun and good food and … seriously, every good thing you could want was included! To ring in the new year with the best of friends, doing the things that you all love and just being together! Is there any better way to celebrate?