It’s a beautiful day today. Cool temperature and soft breezes. Feels more like September than August. The sunshine is warm but not hot. And today will be a quiet day after a long day and night and next morning at BARF.
BARF (Bon Air Recreation Fellowship) has been a friend’s from high school personal summer party. He invites lots of friends and families to dine and wine, swim and play volleyball, and converse with people we only see once a year, or less. Over the 29 years BARF has been an event, people have come and gone, families have expanded, and new friends made. Some years ago anything was acceptable behavior as my friend opened his house and home to dozens, seemingly hundreds of people.
Yesterdays even started as a pickup ride, like an old aunt who can’t get around. The next start was venture to the alcoholic warehouse for samples and a keg. Then a few more beers are purchased. The rules of the BARF is for people to bring food and beverages and the host will supply the keg, but there is a lot of sharing and normally there is a second beer run. As the evening progresses, heavy and heartier adult beverages come forward.
By the time we arrive, the volleyball net is up and the pool was being filled with giggling children. As our host jumps into master of ceremonies mood assembling the keg and ice and soft drinks in coolers, I venture inside to make my presents known to the adults.
Some familiar faces and some strange faces with ages that range from us old folks to their children and their grandchildren welcomed this stranger. The circus continued to grow, so I found a sunny spot on a remarkable cool day and watched and listened to the interaction of the ages. The children and their steady stream of wet bodies between the pool and the house were the most active attraction and soon the conversations turned to health. Unfortunately this group has become the age when health problems have become a problem, so we turn our attention back to the children.
A small boy with blond curly hair and an amazing amount of energy keeps us entertained. Young enough to still being in diapers and excited by every movement and color and texture, I saw myself at the same age. His mother anticipated his every move and kept a running monologue of what is was to be a young mother. The 60’s tunes on the host iPod list kept us all amused.
Content to see more familiar faces and perhaps making some new friends, I enjoy watching the undulation and growth of the party members. I’m sure my loose lips told way too many stories to too many strangers, but I don’t get to talk to people very often. The host daughter, college roommate’s wife, his sister all were there, but missed a few who couldn’t attend this year and were missed.
As the food was served in abundance, the children started to tire and the adults started showing signs of their indulgence. Darkness started setting in and I noticed my host had moved inside with the other adults, so I asked if he wanted to play some music. That request meant he had to leave his safety and warmth of the sofa surrounded by women to test his pipes and memory of old tunes.
So the entertainment began and for 15¢ the old duo of Cliff and/or Joe amazed the drunken background singers. As usual we forgot the tunes and most of the words, but it felt good to play and sing and harmonize. And we didn’t get thrown in the pool or booed off the deck. Even let a total stranger play my guitar. I stood over him as if I wanted to inspect his ability, but then learned I needed to let it go. Sharing your guitar is like sharing your girlfriend. He may give her back and talk about how she feels or just walk off with her. This guy offered some knowledge and respect so I guess it was all right. Even if we didn’t play “Ugly Greta” requested by my first wife.
The crowd thinned to the hardcore youth sinking the hot tub and the old folks moving inside. The host wanted to show a vampire love movie and all those who could keep their head up agreed. Cute predicable movie was almost drowned out by the snoring by the finish.
The host said he had enough time to sober up to take me back home rather than sleep in the yard. I suggested he have a cup of coffee just to make sure, but packed up and finished yet another innumerable beers.
A fairly uneventful yet enjoyable BARF was had this year. Thank you one and all for your company and conversation. And the best part is I didn’t have to stay behind to clean up that mess.