About eight years ago I met tall, bald, funny, thick Boston accented Bill McCarthy and his wife Deb. I'm not quite sure how I met him, I think it was through a friend that invited me out on a bike ride. Before I knew it, I was riding my newly purchased bike across Iowa a couple of times and then riding my bike through the rocky mountains doing an organized ride called Ride the Rockies. For some reason when Bill was around I found that I was never at home. He was this amazing organizer. The moment I was sitting around trying to figure out what to do with my weekends, Bill would call up and say, "come on over for some Margarita's or a barbecue". As all good things must come to an end, Bill and his wife along with their two kids moved back to Boston. It took me about a year to realize they were gone. When they moved away I was busy being a new mother, possibly suffering from Postpartum Depression, never wanting to do anything.
Without trying to sound mellow dramatic, Bill has been back in Boston now for a few years and it just now seems like I'm finally trying to pick up where Bill left off. Many weekends would come and go and my husband and I would find that we didn't do much of anything. Sure, we would clean the house a little, maybe go out to eat, but very seldom would we do anything fun. The weekends dragged along. What I mean by fun was friend filled Bill McCarthy fun. Bill McCarthy fun also usually included his kids and lots of interesting friends. When he lived here his two boys were young and most of the time they too were in tow. (For our backpacking trip, they did stay home with Deb)
Memorial Day weekend started my quest to have Bill McCarthy fun. We had a last minute BBQ where Michael called all of his friends that knew his old business partner Ed- since Ed was intown for the long weekend, and all through the evening and night friends called up saying "I'm on my way over". We also invited friends that didn't know anyone, and soon they were enjoying the new conversations and unique people. We kept bringing out tables and chairs, the more people arrived. What made this party so fun was that we didn't expect anything. No planning went into it. I did very little cooking and no cleaning. We just ate what people brought, drank what was available and the last people stayed until 2:30am. Even the kids had a great time staying up long past their bedtime and playing with the one guy there that loved to play games with kids. I have to add, my oldest daughter wet her pants twice laughing so hard. She just didn't understand how that could happen since she has been potty trained for 3 years now.
Memorial day we went to two other parties where there were lots of couples with kids and the girls played until we brought them home completely exhausted and dirty from a day outside.
This past weekend we took all three girls camping and invited three other families with kids. It rained for the majority of the trip, but it was still great fun being outside with good friends, old and new. In two weeks, we are all getting together again to try it at another venue.
This weekend we are celebrating my daughter's third birthday with friends and family. We are attending the Gay pride parade with friends- my kids love parades, then heading off to a free concert supporting a local building they are turning into an art center called the Clifton Cultural Arts Center.
When I look back on my life I have always befriended people that make plans for me. I'm not sure I ever let them know how grateful I was for this. But if anything, it's time I started making plans for myself and my friends. I'm not sure what I was afraid of, but I'm finding it's pretty easy, it just takes a little self motivation. I think I lived in fear of people not having fun then blaming me. But really, people are just happy to have someone making plans and being included or at least this is my theory. If we can have 15 people camping in the rain and I'm the only one unhappy (temporarily) about it, then it's a plan that worked. Bill, although not a reader of Stuntmom, thanks for giving me the inspiration to plan friend filled events.
I love this post, Jennifer. I was just looking through old photographs the other day thinking about how often we had parties-it didn't matter about nice lawn furniture or clean houses (apartments then)-it just seemed we were more ready to gather folks around us and laugh, with our junky post college couches and mismatched everything. It's hard once kids arrive to keep having that kind of fun, but I think the potluck concept is great, and gathering with other families. We have a neighborhood dinner that's been going on for two years now, and we rotate houses and make yummy food, and everybody's kids just run around and grown ups can talk. We have a list of who brings what, and it's always casual (one category is "kid friendly dish-which cracked me up when I read the NY Times article!)
Count me in if you ever plan another camping trip. We just had a great time in Red River Gorge over Memorial Day.
These are great concepts. I agree that all it takes is a little self motivation and plans materialize. And I think it's good to celebrate the going along with plans, too (which I think you do). They are two sides to the same coin. Sometimes we give energy, sometimes we take it, and where both of those practices exist, positive energy can flow freely. I like this path of discovery that you are on - I have personally benefited from it. Thanks.
I had this sitting around in my email. It's Bill's original Haiku poems about bike trips we've been on with him been on... Bring's back memories huh?
Milkmaids serve Free Beer,
No line for Kybo, pork sandwich,
What comes first? - No all.
Intense Pain - can’t ride.
Seven miles to the next town
Must stop in corn field
Heat, sweat, a dark night
Cool oasis, the “Doughnut”
Water Balloon’s fly
Big pink bus in shade
Sweaty man cooks flesh all day
Sits and yells, “Poooooooork Chooooooooop”
Lots of flesh around
Car wash, chicks and beers abound
Hail Mike – Tattoo King
New Town, New Breakfast
Horns on heads, windmills, coffee
Dancing Girl in Garden
Muddy Clear Lake, too many beers.
Pothole. Jen on head.
Iowa - Hot Nights
Ziiiip, was that a tent or a?
“Boy was I up late.”
Sirens, black wind, rain.
“There goes another runner.”
Crammed Full Gym, where’s Chris?
Riders within Range
Dangerous, low fuel supply
“Base? Foam the runway!”
Tank Top, umbrella
Rare shade patch on team campsite
Iceman sips his beer.
No Fingers or Toes
Cold mornings give way to climbs
View is from the top.
Straight down mountain pass
Must go slow, bearded police
Weird, fun, dead cars – Ward.
Twelve Thousand feet up,
Conttonwood Pass is conquered.
All down hill to beer.
Post a Comment