Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Weed At The Garden Party

It's Azalea Festival time again here in Wilmington and that means scads of people comin' to town to celebrate our beautiful azalea bushes for 5 fun filled days of activities. WHOO HOO!!!! Since I'm a transplanted Yankee livin' in this southern town, it took me quite awhile to get used to ALL things south of the Mason-Dixon Line, but most especially 5 full days dedicated to a flower.

The HIGHLIGHT of these 5 days is the annual Garden PAR-TAY tomorrow where anybody who IS anybody will be in attendance for a mere $150 per ticket to stand in line for a barbeque buffet and to fight your way through the crowd for a cocktail. Now when I first arrived in town 15 years ago, I was a working attorney. I was the only female attorney in the firm, and the guys told me about the PAR-TAY a few days before the big event. There was a strict rule at our firm that we were NEVAH allowed to drink alcohol at lunch with clients, regardless of whether the clients ordered a drink. The senior partner informed me that Garden PAR-TAY day was the one and only exception to that rule.

HHHHMMMMMMMM, I thought this must be some sort of special event huh? So, I put on my best herringbone patterned suit that day, nude hose, and navy close toed lawyerly like pumps. I think I even went all out and put a fancy pin on my lapel.

Imagine my surprise when I got to the PAR-TAY and all the women were dressed like that, and I looked like Susan Boyle before she was discovered by Simon Cowell. Deb, the lawyer, looked like a dried up, nasty, fucking weed, amongst beautiful, luscious, spring like flowers. Yeppers, I was the weed at the Garden PAR-TAY!! I truly wanted to hide in those damn azalea bushes and not come out until they were sweeping up the last barbeque residue. DAMN, that was one of the most embarrassing days of my life!!!!!

However, I rebounded quite nicely and that garden PAR-TAY became a highlight for many, many years. It was a drunk fest from 9am til 9pm. Hell, sometimes I even wore a fancy hat just like I was born and bred in these here parts. Our posse had a whole routine. We would go to this certain place for breakfast at 9am and load up with carbs (to soak up the inevitable alcohol) and share a few mimosas. Then we would be the first arrivals when the gates to the PAR-TAY opened at 10:30am and get first dibs on the cocktails. The guys would set up "base camp", meaning they would park their asses on folding chairs, while the ladies started workin' the crowd. If we got separated we always knew where base camp was located. All day in the sun drinking cocktails sure gives you a nice buzz. But when the gates close about 3'ish EVERYBODY who is ANYBODY goes to the after PAR-TAY down by the water. Now most people go to this certain establishment, but you are literally standing shoulder to shoulder, and I swear one of these days that dock is going to collapse with hundreds of people falling into the intracoastal waterway dressed in their Garden PAR-TAY finest. We always preferred to go to the less crowded joint next door where we could actually have a waitress, a seat, and a view of the water. We would stay partying our asses off until someone in the crowd had sense enough to say it was time to go home. Lights out, PAR-TAY over.

There is a picture of me and the gals at the last garden PAR-TAY I attended 3 years ago. That's me on the far right end (sans hat). Although I have fond memories of the PAR-TAY, as they say, all good things must come to an end. I feel as if I finally "aged out" of this tradition. Gettin' all dressed up, liquored up and peeing and fallin' down in the azalea bushes just doesn't hold the same appeal to me anymore. Now if I want to do those things, I prefer to do them either in the privacy of my chambers, or with a few good friends, rather than in front of the whole damn town.

Last year on Garden PAR-TAY day I had a small gathering at my house for like-minded individuals  who are also tired of the crowds and all the hoopla. There was still the famous garden PAR-TAY punch, barbeque, and a fancy hat or two. I even peed in my own azalea bushes just to keep the spirit of the real Garden PAR-TAY alive!!!!


  1. Loved it! Great story, Deb!

    FYI, in the future, if you think you're dressed too staid (and using words like "staid") you can always tie your jacket around your head and dance on the tables...

    Or perhaps wear your Men In Black shades and talk into your shirt cuff.

    Either way.


  2. Great story...I agree. You are a funny delightful woman Deb. Keep the stories coming!

  3. The South is definitely an interesting place. I've visited a couple of times, and each time it was almost like I needed a passport. lol I have a cousin in GA, and she once called me a Yankee. I didn't respond to her insult (I knew it was one), and she said, "You know that's the biggest insult in the South, right?" I said, "Yes, but I'm not a Yankee. I'm a Californian. A westerner. Yankee doesn't apply to me." lol I've yet to be called a Yank again.

  4. A five day festival dedicated to Azaleas? Okee Dokey, I think that would be cause enough to start drinking.

  5. Sounds like a lot of fun regardless. Always a blast to get smashed around great friends. Im hoping to find myself in that situation some time soon. lol

  6. Day drinking to celebrate a shrub? Sounds like my kind of deal!

  7. Wait a minute. You have a five day long party to celebrate a stinky flower? ...and you can drink all day long to celebrate said stinky flower?

    Where do I sign up?

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