I met a guy once who was one of the funniest people I’d ever met. Let’s call him Joey.

It was late October and he and his wife Jill were huge Halloweeners. Almost every inch of their house was decorated for the holiday, and they were planning a big party on that night. For you see, Joey’s birthday was on Halloween.

He loved to tell the story of one certain birthday shindig, when they’d first moved to a suburb of Dallas. He and Jill hadn’t known a soul, and had only been in town for a couple of months. But he worked as a paramedic and was a big talker and jokester. So he’d invited all his new friends to his party. They’d made loads of blood-soaked food, ghostly streamers hung like stalactites from every room, eerie lights created frightening pools of shadow, the candle-lit bathroom — haunted by a long lost soul. Then they waited for the anticipated crowd that would ooh and aah over their creation.

Not one person showed up. Not a neighbor, not a coworker. Nobody.

So what did Joey and Jill do?

They froze the food. They left up every streamer. The spooky lights remained. When you closed the bathroom door, screams emanated from out of nowhere — in November. And December. And… March.

In fact — all year long.

The next year, Joey and Jill could barely accommodate the throng that showed up. Joey would get tears in his eyes he was laughing so hard, as he told his own hilarious version of that non-eventful night.

I’m not so sure I would’ve handled it quite so well.

In fact, years later, we threw a Super Bowl party. Although a few were present (and did their best to make up for the sparse attendance), the event was no where near as super as we’d anticipated. My fairly young son looked up at me, and said, “So where are all the people?

I thought of Joey, and Jill, and sighed. “Well, I guess they don’t like football.” Inside, of course, I was beating myself up, thinking, “No one likes you. You don’t have any real friends.” And on and on. Until I got tired of that, and decided to think something else — a much kinder, gentler version of what my critical, nagging, ugly inner self was suggesting.

We’ve given many parties since. We’ve figured out which friends like football, and which ones wouldn’t cross the street to shake hands with Emmit Smith or Peyton Manning.

Next week, I’m about to give one more.

This one — you’re invited to, if you live in Northwest Arkansas. Of course, you can come if you live in Chicago or Des Moines, but I’m not sure the wine and hors d’oeuvres would warrant the airfare.

This party is a book signing. The book — “Marriage Is Not For Chickens.” And I wrote it.

This book is meant to be a gift for you to give to someone you love, to someone recently engaged or married, or to someone who’s celebrating one more anniversary of a long, well-journeyed partnership. It’s short, at times sweet, and hopefully thought-provoking.

It still can bring a tear to my eye if I’m looking at my husband when I read it.

I so wish the photographers whose work is featured could be at the event as well, as it is their additions that lend poignancy and power to my words. They are Christine Mathias and Deborah Strauss, and I thank them will all my heart. They’re from California and Texas, respectively, and one of these days, perhaps all three of us will get together.

I’d love to meet you, thank you for being a reader or listener, and autograph your book. It’s at Nightbird Books in Fayetteville, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm, July 20th. Nightbird, owned by Lisa Sharp, is one of the coolest little spots in Fayetteville, where there is an eclectic range of books to browse, and where Lisa honors local authors, with a special nook  just for them.

If you can’t come by, “Marriage Is Not For Chickens” is available on Amazon. If you want to read my words prior to investing, please click here. (If you like it only by reading, you’ll love it with the photographs.) You can let me know here if you’re interested in coming, or you definitely plan to do so. I wouldn’t want to run out of food, or drink.

I’ll hope some of you can drop by. Thanks so much!