I had arranged to meet my old friends, the Von Schweikerts, at their
motel just a few towns away from Sea Cliff and travel from there to the party together, and so we did. With a guest list of over 100 persons, we had anticipated a paucity of parking opportunities anywhere close by the house, surrounded as it was by equally antique Sea Cliff streets (read: narrow).
To our surprise, however, we were able to park within half a block, from which distance the low hum of conversation and laughter could be heard drifting from the large, wrap-around porch typical of such homes.
And with our arrival, the rain departs. The evening is cool, but not too cold. It is near perfect, now.
All is surrounded by a high, handsome old privacy hedge, which enveloped the porch full of revelers in a soft green sea of foliage. Flowering plants hung in baskets above the railings. Up a few steps and then, suddenly, there was HP at my side (looking tres handsome, I might add), being every inch the Perfect Host, greeting us and taking my arm and guiding me first toward a table whereupon a box containing one of the two official Guests of Honor rested: the newly-minted 25th Anniversary Issue #112 of The Abso!ute Sound.
Yes, the very one so many were so certain would never happen. The premier Guest of Honor, of course, was TAS' new co-owner, Thomas B. Martin, Jr. (but for whom Issue #112 might still be in HP's computer).
The sense of pride and excitement is palpable.
Perfect Host began introducing me, a wide-eyed stranger in this strange land....faces now to go with names that are the stuff of an audiophile's dreams and, of course, a veritable Who's Who of the High End a gathering of the mighty in this very special place, Sea Cliff.
This night is a special "thank you" to the loyal friends and Staff who stayed the course during the Dark Days.
A glass of champagne, then, from said Perfect Host, and a directive: Circulate. (Sure, HP, as soon as my heart stops pounding...) Most fun is meeting some of the folks on our (Internet) LP collectors' mailing list, Vinylphiles. Flashbulbs pop.
More awesome names now become faces, too; the caterer's serving staff moves quietly through the crowd, dispensing smiles and canapes. There is a sense of both celebration and relief.
We are congratulating each other for "hanging in there" almost as much as we are congratulating Harry or Tom ...
Mounds of fragrant lilac fronds (my favorite) adorns tables laid with h'ors doeuvres and fruit, to accompany the wine. Then, later, supper. Cold glazed chicken, salmon, shrimp, salads. . . The Works. And more champagne... by this time, I have consumed easily an entire bottle single-handedly, and while I am (now that it's almost over) quite relaxed, I have remained amazingly sober (I don't think I said anything too stupid?...).
It has been a wonderful, wonder-filled evening.
Then it was time for "one more for the road" -- the road ahead through the next 25 years...
© Copyright 1998 Anna Logg