I saw Zelda for dinner the other night and she informed me my presence was requested for Pinky’s big day – his 39th birthday (well not really 39 but after a while you find an age you like and settle there).
The gang was going to be there. The gang being me, Zelda, Margarita (who makes killer magaritas), PG, Chief (a king among chefs), Skip (Margarita’s significant other and a killer griller) and The Kid ( Pinky’s son at least in spirit). While we hang with other friends as well, we seem to be the core group. The main herd. The alpha majors and minors.
So, it’s Sunday afternoon and I’m thinking some cheese and crackers a little sparkling water, possibly margaritas because Margarita can’t not make them and a cute little cake. Then home we go.
So we all arrive on time (a historical happening to be sure) which flustered Margarita and grabbed the cocktail parphenalia. Cheese and crackers appeared, sparkling water appeared, much hustle and bustle went on in the kitchen. And though we all offered to help we ended up sitting around the livingroom, munching crackers and chewing the fat.
We talked about PG’s dad, politics and the future plans for the ‘christmas movie’ (now a tradition) that we would be participating in for Zelda’s mom. (That’s a whole other post.)
Soon enough the incredible scent of amazing food began to waft through the air. Skip and Margarita’s beagles started a sniff fest and we humans did a poor imitation of same. Next thing we knew we were seated at the art deco table on the patio and eyeing steaks the size of Omaha.
We oohed and ahed and Skip beamed. Margarita excitedly explained about a couple of wines they’d discovered and they were good.
We ate and ate and then we ate some more. Thick steaks, grilled to perfection, secretly amazing string beans with herbs, grilled potatoes that melted in your mouth…it was poetry in motion.
As most of us were screaming uncle and pushing our plates aside (with ample scraps for the beagles) The Kid was scarfing up to beat the band. I’m not sure but there may not have even been a bone left on the plate. He passed on the green beans but went crazy on the potatoes and steak and I think I even saw him eyeing Chief’s steak since there was plenty left and a doggie bag in his future.
Then the conversation modules began. Zelda started talking about the nifty new back-fixing equipment she had bought. Stretching and squeezing and traction things. Ultra sound, no sound, nice sound – it was all greek to me.
Pinky, happy with a full belly took a nap with his eyes open. Yes, Pinky does have that special talent. You see, we rib him about napping at all our soires so now he can do it sitting upright with his eyes open. No lie. The Kid just kept eating and eating and eating.
Birthday cake, ice cream and espresso magically appeared, seeming to appear out of nowhere. Perfect. More oohs and ahs.
At my end of the table, me, PG and Chief talked blogging, writing, politics, conspiracy theories, movies and masterpieces. Now, I suppose this is probably boring you by now because nothing really remarkable happened nor did any major catastrophe befall us. It was just a bunch of friends eating really good food, celebrating the birthday of a friend, having really good conversation.
I can’t remember the last time I had such a good time and such good talk. It was fun, interesting and entertaining. I learned a lot of things I didn’t know about my friends and it was just one of those precious times when everything and everyone jelled. Truly a kind of magic moment among friends. A truly satisfying get together that makes you thankful for having such people in your life and having a life that includes them.
Since it was a school night, the evening ended all too soon. And before I knew it, I was back in Zelda’s big fricking truck (she calls him Chomp) being the ‘bobble’ passenger and we were headed home.
It was the best day I’ve had in recent memory – not for any particularly earth shattering reason – but for the simple pleasure of spending an evening with friends.
I would wish that everyone would have such evenings in their lives. Where the worry and trouble of the world doesn’t interfere, where the day to day grind never enters your mind and where you go home whistling.