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Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Party

There are parties . . . and then there are parties . . . but you ain’t been to a party till you’ve been to a Tim and Marie Cunning Party!

The Cunnings held an Oktoberfest party at their beautiful mansion Saturday evening. He has a huge outdoor cooking and serving area; complete with stainless steel barbecue oven, a fully stocked bar with about every type of wine and/or beer you could imagine. Of course, since it was Oktoberfest, guests brought along German Ales, Wines, and Beers.

Except lyle. Dear, sweet lyle brought a magnum of wine. A great big ol’ honkin’ bottle . . . but it was Chardonnay, which is decidedly not German. It is a huge bottle that we’ve had at the Madison Mansion for years . . . probably long before I arrived on the scene (and evelyn and I have been a couple for nearly 10 years). Evelyn said we shouldn’t take it because it was so old . . . maybe it wasn’t good anymore. I insisted we take it because (a) we drink very little and we would never drink it, even if we kept it for another 20 years, (b) it might be good, (c) if it was good, Tim, who throws a lot of parties, could put it to good use, and (d) if it wasn’t good, Tim could use it as vinegar for some of his tremendous salads. Tim added another element. If it wasn’t any good he and his son Andrew could always use the bottle as target practice.

In addition to the cooking and serving area, all of which is well lit, with plenty of comfortable bar chairs, there is also a large lounging area immediately in front of a huge outdoor fireplace, about 10 yards from the cooking and serving area . . . immediately in front of that lounging area is a beautiful swimming pool . . . then a vast expanse of immaculately trimmed yard . . . and the sun setting on the foothills just beyond the Cunning property . . . quite an exquisite view!

Several couples came all decked out in Lederhosen and other Germanic clothing. The food? Always the best when the Cunning stage a soiree. German potato salad, sauerkraut, red cabbage, pork chops, and huge and tasty bratwursts . . . all cooked to perfection. Tim oversees all the cooking at the Cunning Mansion. He is a perfectionist!

Party preparations don’t stop with food and drink, however. No, no, no. Mr. Cunning had gone out and gotten giant pumpkin decorations for the front yard to welcome guests, a couple of hay bales,more pumpkins, and just inside the door, a smiling skeleton, top hat and all, was there to greet you with a smile.

I’m not too much for going to parties . . . but whenever I hear the Cunnings are holding a party, I make myself readily available.

“So, Tim, having any parties this weekend?”

“Uh, yes, lyle, but it’s a children’s party, for the kids.”

“Great! I’ll be there!”

(Do you think I’m too pushy?)

The party started at 5pm, quite a civilized hour. Lots of great people, interesting folks, fascinating stories. Marie, as usual, all dolled up in the latest fashion, looking like a million bucks (before the recession). Tim, the mad, wild, red-haired Irishman, is all over the grounds, shaking paws with guests, checking periodically on the grill and the bar to make sure all are properly fed and watered . . . then taking only a few brief minutes to feed himself. Every now and then you know someone told a good joke because you can hear Tim’s unmistakable laugh . . . and you just know he’s gonna write it down and tell it at the next Kiwanis meeting.

Not that many of our Kiwanians showed up, though they were all invited. I couldn’t help but notice that only the most handsome, most beautiful, most intelligent, and most popular of our Kiwanians were the ones that showed up. Being particularly modest, I exempted myself from that list.

Not a bad way to spend a Saturday night. Oh, they did have a DUI checkpoint in Escondido Saturday night as well . . . but we figured this was more fun.

And it was.

The party having started at 5pm, a number of guests began to depart at about 9pm, including us. We are, after all, extremely elderly and fragile and had consumed two glasses of wine (which is binge drinking for me).

I remember thinking on the way home . . . “I should have swiped two or three of those bratwursts and hid them under my jacket. No one would have ever known!”

Kudos to Tim and Marie Cunning . . . party hosts extraordinaire!

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