LAKEWOOD, Colo. _ If you ever need instructions on how to celebrate the 4th of July, there’s a couple just west of Denver who could offer a few lessons.
I went with my sisterfriend April to the ultimate barbecue. Burgers, hot dogs, fruit salad and nachos were the appetizers! And tables were set up across the yard for Bid Whist, Dominoes, chess and, yes, I was in heaven, Scrabble.
But this wasn’t your usual Scrabble. These wonderful women of age played using Independence Day rules. You could look up your word in the dictionary BEFORE you placed it on the board. There was no time limit. If you wanted to stop and talk about each word before the next person’s turn, that was perfectly acceptable.
And when it was time to eat, the game wasn’t paused. It was over.
Oh, the eating. Our hosts, Clinton and Barbara, took to a microphone to announce the rules: Guests aged 55 and older had to go first. I’ve never seen so many people announce their retirement dates, AARP card numbers and how many grandchildren they had to get to the front of the line.
But why not? The menu was: ribs, collards, potato salad, bean salad, tossed salad, corn on the cob, macaroni and cheese, baked beans, hot links, corn bread and pasta. (Oh, there also was catfish, but it was a third course!)
Other rules? Children were not allowed at the food table; parents had to make their plates. (I LOVE that rule) and anyone making a plate for a senior could enter the house first. One woman announced she was making a plate for her mother. Her mother said: “I can make my own plate!”
There was an entire separate table with 19 cakes, cupcakes and pies. And there were six coolers of every possible drink you could crave. Sangria flowed from a dispenser on the patio.
No gathering that large on a holiday could end without talk of politics, and there was plenty. But I’ll save that for my column.
This big moment was about meeting new people, watching children with painted faces play and enjoying hot sausages that make your eyes water and potato salad made the way it should be (with pickles, boiled eggs and a dozen spices).
Happy Independence to Us!