In 1997 my friend and colleague, Joan, whose mother went to college in Illinois and who knew I was from Illinois, wondered if I’d be interested in going to an unofficial Inaugural Ball which was being hosted by some Illinois organization. I said yes, and asked my mom and aunt if they’d like to go too. They did and flew out from Illinois a few days before the event.
There were seven of us all together — Joan and her mom, our friend Carolyn and her daughter Sarah and my mom, my aunt Ginny and me. The actual ball was not exactly wonderful — boring actually — but getting ready for it was a lot of fun. And afterward we could say that we’d been to an Inaugural Ball.
A lot has happened in the twelve years since that ball — both with our country and in the personal lives of the seven women who attended. In fact a variety of books (war, romance, medical, to name a few genres) could be written about all the events that transpired since 1997.
This year I didn’t have a posse of friends with whom to attend a ball. If someone had suggested it, perhaps I might have done so, but it didn’t happen so Dean and I decided to hold our own Inaugural Ball.
Dean invited a few friends from work, some neighbors and friends we’ve made through our children and I invited a couple of people I knew through the Internet (the ones Dean refers to as my imaginary friends).
Our invitation was based on one I found online.
We chose a Chicago style menu of Italian Beef, Chicago style Hot Dogs, Jello salad, & potato salad with mustard. We also had Old Style beer on hand (plus some from Wisconsin).
Dean gathered dance music for the “ballroom”. (but no one danced — it seems the music stopped after a while and we forgot to start it up again)
The party was a lot of fun — it was great having folks from various parts of our lives in the same place at the same time (sort of like Facebook). I wish I could have talked to more people in depth, but I was pretty busy bringing out the different courses.
I think I got to talk to everyone, at least for a few minutes. Dean and I decided, however, to not have two parties* so close to each other again. Maybe one in the winter and one in the spring or autumn.
Despite his busy schedule, President-elect Obama stopped by for some Chicago food and posed with the guests.
*we host a Christmas / Holiday party for folks from Dean’s office each December.