When Pat asked me to go to his family’s New Year’s Eve gathering, it
was no small thing. As his young friend, I might not be up to the event. He walked the
half mile over to my house one evening early in December to inspect my red velvet
cocktail dress and pronounced it acceptable. He took me out on my parents’ back deck
and taught me to waltz over piles of fallen leaves. Weeks before the big day, I
anticipated something special.
The night arrived, and his parents welcomed us into their front parlor,
redolent with spicy rich food smells and chatter. China, crystal and candles topped a
long table. From the first moment, all Pat’s family friends, his older sisters and
their dates made a fuss over me. At fourteen, I was the youngest at the party, but Pat
had a surprise. He wanted me to make a splash. My fifteenth birthday was early in
January, and the family toasted me as I opened Pat’s present, a perfect symbol of my
status, on the teetering brink between childhood and a future as a young adult. His
gift, a wry book of letters called The Jolly Postman, filled with charming
pictures and a missive on each page, entertained the crowd. Everyone passed it around
and read it aloud as we settled down to an elegant supper.
Click here for the pattern.
Paella and champagne kept us lively, the evening passing in a blur of twinkling light
and laughter. Towards midnight, we traveled the short distance to Washington, D.C.’s
Kennedy Center to welcome the New Year. We danced in the grand foyer as a string
orchestra played Viennese waltzes.
Nearly 20 New Year’s Eves later, I still get a thrill thinking of that magical
evening. I’ve spent several New Year’s Eves with Pat since then, several with my
husband, and many more in far less elegant circumstances. Pat helped me prepare for his
family’s big event and built the anticipation long in advance. Give yourself a chance
to anticipate a stylish start to 2007, or a fabulous evening out at any time of year.
Knit yourself a glittery evening bag, just in case.