Party on!

We’re hosting a party for our son’s graduation from junior high school We’re being careful, but also playing to the partygoers’ wishes.

Eleven boys will be on hand from the neighborhood. One is Milo’s fellow graduate. The rest are past Albany Free School graduates, or moving up into the graduating class next year. Half the group’s been playing basketball in the back for the past two weeks, pulled together by the protests and marches that have taken over our city.

Everyone’s looking forward to seeing the four Feliz-Nickersons, who have been in quarantine out of town for three months. They’re looking forward to seeing everyone else.


We’ll have cheeseburgers, chips, a wheelbarrow full of iced teas and soda on ice. Watermelon and ice-cream cake. We strung twinkle lights in the rose of Sharon and ironwood trees and unfurled mini-flags of all the world’s nations along the fence that separates us from the brownstone to our south.The place has been sprayed for bugs, per our kid’s request.

The plan is for endless b-ball. All the boys agree this may be their last party ever without girls.

A few parents will be on hand. We’ve said it’s up to each individual whether to wear a mask. Our deck seating, reserved for adults, is socially distanced. So are the options inside, where the air conditioning will be running..

Irresponsible? Not if one extends the idea of family and realizes that the young men we’ve had playing in our yard are a pod that includes their parents. And us.

And not if one realizes that even in wartime, memorializing events are needed to mark passage and commemorate togetherness as we all move forward through the larger battleground called life.

Party on!

Read more installments of Village Voices by Paul Smart.