Des O'Neill | August 26, 2018
“Bluey, are you two interested in coming to a party Saturday night?” Davo contacted his mate for such an occasion, “Rosy got invited and I have to go, you know, we’re permitted to bring another couple. You owe me one.”
“Davo, how’s it going mate? Yeah, I’ll just check. Hey Shas, Rosy and Davo invited us to a party Saturday night. She nodded, count us in. Where?”
“Her new bosses place, just bring a plate they reckon. We’ll pick you up, about six, okay.”
The balding and grey-haired men had been mates since well before legal drinking age, hangovers together, a badge of their friendship. Wives shared the social scenes of football and cricket clubs, usually as drivers.
“There’s no getting drunk you guys,” Shas stated, “you understand?”
“Of course not, we know that,” the guys chorused with best behaviour intentions.
“I mean it! There’s no getting drunk.”
Whiffs of food aroma welcomed them as they entered the lavish home. Suddenly their offerings of home baked scones with cream and jam, Tim Tams and roast chicken seemed mediocre. But they were told, just keep it simple and traditional. No need to bring any drinks.
A wave of introductions escorted them into the party midst where they encountered a mixed race of couples, a vast array of nationalities, Bluey noticed.
Small, polite talk assimilated them into the atmosphere and folded awkward minutes into pleasurable time. Davo found himself listening intently to a Spanish person describing rigors of life as a matador. A turban headed guy regaled with Bluey about cricket, and the Poms, soon enough an English and Pakistani had joined the conversation.
Being in Melbourne, the town rich in nation culture, gripped in winter sport, the swill of conversation frothed with the introduction of football as a topic. A drunken passion for Aussie rules fuelled a cocktail mixture of feelings between merit of skills in different codes. An American guy unwittingly tempered feelings when he suggested a certain AFL club received preferential treatment from the umpires. The spirit of normal talk was exploded, the stigma of grass root importance had been breached, the party lost balance, swayed and staggered.
A Sudanese man settled them all with his deep, baritone voice, soothing all.
“The arbitrators of society, given power, will always have their way,” white teeth and eyes emphasised his words, “no matter how right or wrong they be.”
A chorus of laughter approved his words.
Rosy and Shas found themselves marvelling at the fashion they saw from the other guests. They were enthralled with the sparkle and glamour of an African woman; she was so tall,
The Vietnamese host summoned his guest’s attention beckoning them to the dining room.
All senses for taste were instantly assailed with aroma of spice, herbs, curries and even the stinky tofu of Southeast Asia blended as wafting scents to arouse their smell, tongues tingled with anticipation as eyes took in the feast of delectable delight spread before them.
“I welcome you all, my lovely guests. As you see, we have dishes here from the many directions we came from. We all have traditions for eating, the Vietnamese tradition is to eat, eat more and then eat some more, it is an insult not to try a dish and to leave food upon your plate.” Waving a hand before him indicating seating where scattered cushions lay strewn around the edges of the walls. “These will be your chairs, once again our Vietnamese culture. Begin.”
The banquet carried the remainder of party time with guests exchanging details about their own cuisine, proffering with pride and sampling others with appetite for flair and taste.
No insults were issued as the feast was somehow consumed with great appetite for appreciation of new found friends, their culture and food.
Driving home from the party, Davo realised that he had automatically got behind the wheel, something he would never consider after a night out.
“Hey Bluey, I just realised something.”
“What’s that mate?”
“Crikey, we just went to a flamin’ dry party, there was no grog.”
“Yeah, I noticed it at one stage, but, it didn’t seem to matter, it was such a great time.”
“I told you boys there was no alcohol, didn’t you listen?”
“You just said we were not getting drunk tonight.”
They all laughed.