Saturday, July 24, 2010

Scenes from Silver Creek: The Party of the Century

Screw Truman Capote and his star-studded epic, the REAL party of the century took place in Silver Creek at the home of Riley and Kat Logan.

The Logan’s was my second home, and Sean Logan my “brother from another mother.” No matter how dull things were at my house, Casa de Logan was always happening. Impromptu croquet tournaments. Games of Risk complete with fake military uniforms and European accents. Homemade cookies, warm from the oven. And the parties. Every month an epic party.

Riley and Kat met in an acting class at university and never lost that delicious spirit of play. They passed it on to their kids and, in some way, to the whole town through their parties. They were just evenings, they were events. You had to work, or you weren’t invited back. So in some ways Silver Creek's social schedule was dictated to by Kit and RIley's monthly inventions.

Take something simple, for instance, Chinese Night. For weeks every Chinese cookbook in town was poured over while people prowled secondhand stores for suitable costumes. And when the night game we were surrounded by Mandarins and slaves, peasants and paupers. I dressed entirely in gray and went at the Great Wall. Sean dressed in red as the little red book. We ate delicious crispy-fried duck and had a man-johng tournament. The whole night was illuminated by paper lanterns and the sounds Chinese music played on the Logan’s excellent hi-fi. The Logan's even insisted on teaching us an easy folk dance and we all slithered and slide underneath their paper lantens to the sounds of pipes and gongs.

Some parties, however, took a great deal of trouble. The gam-themed party threw many into confusion until they got into the gist of it and began creating giant papier mache chess set heads or painting playing card for costumes. We had shuttlecocks dancing with bowling pins and something of a scandal when a backgammon board was found in the corner with a hungry-hungry-hippo. My little green army man was no match for the large top hat (Sean's favorite Monopoly token) but we both laughed at his parents as Ken and Barbie. Scarily so.

The most famous party of all, though, was the celebrity party. The rule was simple: no one allowed in unless escorted by someone with a famous name. That’s it. You didn’t have to actually bring a famous person, just the name. Once word got out, one of our local dentists, John Wayne, got a lot more business and was snapped up quick. Consultation with Kit Logan expanded our horizons when she allowed for spelling differences. Thus Glen Miller (from the local Ford dealership) and Vivien Lee (of Lee’s Lovely Nails) were both permissible.

People began looking through the yellow pages and rifling through old year books. Total strangers were cold called with invitations to parties with people they didn’t know. And a surprising number said yes. But for most of is, it was an uphill battle

Eventually Kit relented and allowed famous fictional characters to be in, so Perry Mason and Peter Parker showed up on the guest list. The Logan’s next-door neighbors had it easiest of all. Dr. Raymond Charles went as himself, Ray Charles and his wife brought their Doberman, Prince Charles. They even brought a letter from their vet addressed to Prince Charles to prove his name. Kit accepted the letter but banished Prince back to his own home, being familiar with the dog’s tendency to pee when excited.

I was really struggling until the day before the party when I got a flat tire. I went to A-1 Auto Parts for a new one and Mr. Carson, who I’d known forever, waited on me. But it wasn’t until I saw him standing there in his black and white striped uniform shirt with “John” stitched onto the name patch that I realized all these years I had been buying oil and wiper blades from Johnny Carson. He quickly became my date for the party.

It was an amazing night. Betty Davis danced with John Adams. A female Jackie Robinson flirted with a male Dale Evans. Our youngest guest was a 4 month old Bruce Lee and our oldest at 90+something Tina Turner. We had Paul Newman, Jim Morrison, Mary Martin, and Debbie Reynolds. A few of the more obscure “celebrities” had to prove not only their name but also their fame. My father brought a man and an encyclopedia to probe that Robert Borden was prime minister of Canada in the 1920s. Thanks to Brittanica, Robert Borden (dad’s insurance guy) got them both in.

Everyone from George Patton to Martha Washington was there, and had a fabulous time. And the great thing is nobody was in costume, so you had no idea who they were. You’d just walk up and introduce yourself and find yourself talking to Sammy Davis or Jackie Kennedy. That night Kit posted a huge piece of white paper on the wall of her living room and asked all the guests to sign in. If it had been a real gathering, this document would be worth a fortune. She let John Adams (an orthodontist) sign first, and then everyone else dug in. Even Mother Theresa from OLA came over for a bit and got into the spirit of things, She signed right next to Pat Garett,credited with killing Billy the Kid.

It was an epic party, one talked about for months afterwards, People bragged about their "celebrity" others laughed at their 15-minute of fame. But it was defiitely one for the books. To this day, however, the thing that never fails to make me laugh is the one guy in town who, try as he might, could not find anybody with a famous name to take to the party. His name was Harry Potter.

No comments: