Sometimes I love being kinda Catholic.
Yesterday afternoon my friend and I attended Ainsley's school's biggest fundraiser of the year, the Spring Stagette. I had heard it was a must-attend thing, with music, cocktails, a catered dinner, silent auction items, door prizes, and raffles. I hadn't heard about the Jello shots.
I was raised Protestant. Southern Baptist/Pentecostal to be exact. But we didn't attend church regularly because my mom, a socially liberal lady who never fit the Pentecostal mold with her short, trendy hair, ample eye makeup, cussing, and occasional imbibing of margaritas, took issue with some of the strict mandates of her childhood church. The churches we occasionally attended when I was a kid all preached about the evils of alcohol. Having a drink was tantamount to dancing with the devil in the pale moonlight. My mother's evangelical family eyed those papist communion-wine-taking Catholics with suspicion; any worship service that integrates a sip of wine seemed a little fishy. During my sister's Catholic wedding and liquour-filled reception in the church basement, my great-aunt leaned in to my mom and said, with complete sincerity, "I hope the Lord doesn't come tonight, because I don't think any of us would be called." Drinking was considered evil, church was acred; the two were not meant at any time to blend together.
When I converted to Catholicism, I appreciated what I see as a healthier view of alcohol: moderation. It didn't take long to get used to having draft beer served at most adult-focused church functions like bingo, festivals, and fish fries; after all, I'd been to college. I was aware that people like to drink.
So I wasn't surprised last night when I stepped up to the bar in the church undercroft and saw 2 varieties of beer on tap. I wasn't even surprised to see someone mixing and serving bourbon slushes. I was a little surprised when a server walked around with a tray of Jello shots and encouraged each woman in attendance to have a couple.
This being a charity event that relied on modified forms of gambling, I suppose there was a Vegas mentality; get the people drunk, and they'll be more free with their money. Judging by the sheer amount I saw some of these women tip back, and the outrageous number of dollar-raffle tickets many of the well-marinated were carrying around...I think it worked.
My friend and I had a drink or two before the meal was served; we were there for five hours, so why not? We both stopped several hours before the event was over in the interest of being safe drivers. But I just couldn't get into Jello shots on a Sunday afternoon. After about the third time a volunteer came around with a tray of them, I took a few to stash in my purse to take home to Jason (they were packaged into cute little plastic condiment cups with lids for ultra portability.) When I offered them to him as a thank-you for watching the kid while I had a girls' day out, he looked at me like I was crazy. Either we're too old for Jello shots, or they're not appropriate for a school night, I guess. Maybe both.
It all created an atmosphere I've never encountered at a school function before. It was like a big ol-party. Because it was a big ol' party. I'm starting to wonder what the PTA meetings are like. If they would open the beer taps for those, I would run for president.
It's probably going to start an annual tradition, which I hadn't been counting on. I figured I would pay the admission, make an appearance, and leave within two hours. School functions organized by overly-cheerful PTA moms are generally not my thing.
This was different, though. Those Catholic-school moms really know how to party.