Sunday, December 31, 2006

The New Year's Tradition of Wayfarer House

Every year we’ve been married, Wifeness and I have celebrated our anniversary* by hosting a party. We open the house, invite everyone (most people know that the invitation is standing from year to year), talk, laugh, play and connect with all the people who touch our lives in so many wonderful and special ways. This is the twelfth Wayfarer Open House, and over the years a certain routine has been established. Let me take you through the entire event, so you get a sense of things:

New Year’s Eve

Wayfarer House is open. Occasionally, people arrive earlier than this, which is wonderful, but it is understood by those not covered under the 3-times rule that they will be asked to help clean and prep the house to receive the 30-odd guests we’ll have during the evening.

Families with children usually arrive at this time, to make sure the kids get to take part in things before it gets too late. Many of the people who stay the night come around this time as well.


The buffet comes out. This year, the house serves cream of broccoli soup and panini, accompanied by a scrumptious assortment of pot-luck offerings. Those staying over will not want to eat heavily tonight. Fatty’s Diner is open tomorrow!


The kids take over the house. The adults hide in the corners, hoping their children will play hard now and sleep well tonight.


The kids run out of gas. The wise parents will take their leave. The kids who are staying over will be plunked down in front of the television to get some downtime.

The adult crowd will start trickling in about now.


Fun time! What we do depends on who is here. Last year, we played Apples to Apples. In years past, Dick Clark would sometimes play in the background. Who knows if people will want to hear Carson Daly.


We all go outside, huddle together in the cold and quietly count down to the New Year. It’s a special, cozy moment, and it truly starts the next year off in a beautiful way.

New Year’s Day

Some will stay up. Some will go home. Some will say “to hell with it” and go to bed. Even though I have to get up early to open Fatty’s, I usually choose the first option.


Fatty’s Diner, the fictional eatery of Wayfarer House, is open for business! For those of you who don’t know, Fatty’s is the brainchild of Uncle Bubba. It has always been Uncle Bubba's dream to run a restaurant that served only food that tastes wonderful, regardless of the fat or caloric content. Wayfarer House is proud to support this endeavor, and has hosted Fatty's each year since its inception. Every year the menu is different, but it is always comprehensive and inevitably includes the kind of food that would make Jenny Craig run screaming to the nearest health club--French toast, biscuits and sausage gravy, grits, eggs, bacon, homefries, bagels with cream cheese, scones, cereal, oatmeal and coffee by the gallon.

Fatty’s is only open for one meal a year--New Year's Day Brunch, and Uncle Bubba is its head chef. Family, friends and guests who show up for Wayfarer House's annual New Year's Eve party and stay overnight get the added bonus of an early seat at Fatty's, where they can linger over the best of the smorgasbord in their pajamas. Others arrive throughout the morning, sampling offerings as they are prepared hot off the grill and enjoying the energy of a house rich with love and the smells of hearth and home.

This year, sadly, Uncle Bubba will be unable to see his tradition off the ground. I will act again as his humble replacement, with Wifeness and others acting as co-chefs. We promise to do you proud, Bubba!


Fatty’s has closed for another year, and people are usually on their way home. After all, people need to start gearing up for work the next day. For us at Wayfarer House, it’s mostly a matter of putting the furniture back where it was and making sure the leftovers go home with someone. We will have community dinner later, but for now, it’s chill time.

* More on my anniversary in the next post.


Fran said...

MMM. Fond memories of New Year's Eve at Wayfarer House. As in so many things, makes me wish I were back. :) Love, Auntie Fran

Wayfarer said...

We miss you, too, Auntie Fran! New Year's is just not the same without you. I made grits this year, special, in your honor. They were rockin'!