On Thursday, Thanksgiving, my daughter, my son, my sister and brother-in-law and their daughter, my brother and sister-in-law, cooked all day. Then we ate. The 9-year old led us all in a round of Gangnam Style rug-cutting.
The next morning, we got up and drove en mass to Santa Barbara for my mother’s 80th birthday party. And family reunion. Of 40-ish people. A warmer, more affectionate, more truly interested-in-what-each-other-had-to-say group would be hard to imagine.
The first wave met at a pizza parlor Friday night.The traditional red and white tablecloth came with succulent centerpieces. It’s Santa Barbara.
Saturday we had lunch at my mother’s. We parked in the cul-de-sac.
One of my Artsy Cousins, of the Crafty variant, got carried away with bunting, to our great delight. She made the Happy Birthday above too.
A niece and I picked flowers from mom’s yard and stuck them into water glasses. We used a Bird of Paradise, because that’s what grows in Santa Barbara yards.
We set the tables with navy blue tablecloths and kelly green napkins because, well you know why. Then, wholly unknowing, one of my sisters turned up in shades of blue and green, the other in a bright kelly tee. I don’t invent all this. I changed into a blue and white striped shirt of my mother’s because a) it was sunny and close to 80 degrees b) solidarity.
In fact the sun was so bright it turned kelly green to white in this photo. I’m sure there’s a larger transformative inference to be drawn, but you don’t need my help.
Lunch was served from a taco truck, which, an odd twist of fate, turned out to offer Tiki Tacos. Hawaiian food, if you will, accompanied by Bob Marley reggae. . The company set out a palm frond umbrella on my mother’s Southern California Spanish-ish driveway. I could make a cultural statement here, but, again, how about not? How about it was just a family eating some food on a warm day in the sunshine?
I’m reluctant to analyze the heartfelt which is not mine alone.
We had dinner at the club where Mom plays bridge. The chef used one of her recipes – Chicken Paprika. Nice china. I have a secret penchant for highly ornate tables. Maybe we all do. The austere takes you only so far.
We all toasted Mom, which my brother videotaped so she can play them over to her heart’s content. I toasted her family, who came over to America in the 1600s, and worked hard at preaching and governing and building a factory. And Mom, who worked hard at being a good mom. And did a damn good job.
High WASPs use the word damn to indicate great emotion.
Those of you who read regularly might have noticed I was absent Saturday morning. Consider this that missing post. Mom’s 80th Birthday, Or, Saturday Morning Forever and Ever. To all the Cousins, Artsy, Teaching, Scientific, Religious, Professorial, Managerial, Mothers, and Other, thank you so, so very much. We had a wonderful time.