I’ve had a lot of wonderful birthday celebrations in my life, including two surprise parties, but last night was one of the best. I think what made it so wonderful, besides the company, was the fact I didn’t even expect a celebration three weeks after my birthday.
I’ve known Mary since we were 10. Although we haven’t always stayed in touch, we reconnected years ago when she moved back to Springfield and consider each other family. Her kids even call Steve and I aunt and uncle. I love them like they were my own. With our busy schedules we haven’t been able to meet and celebrate my birthday. She suggested lunch, but I wanted the four of us to go out to dinner.
Last night we had plans to eat Indian food at one of Mary’s favorite places, Gem of India. Steve and I have never tried it and were excited to experience something different. Mother Nature had other plans as a huge storm knocked out electricity to the restaurant and surrounding area. When pressed to make a decision of where I go, I chose Tong’s because I love it and it was close. Mary had never eaten there and was excited to try Thai food. She greeted me with flowers and a big hug and I knew the evening was going to be fun. I have to insert here that she looked adorable in her Indian tunic, leggings, gold sandals and chandelier earrings. I love all 5 feet of that woman (that’s 5 feet with heels *giggle*)!
We sat down, immediately ordered wine (priorities, you know), and started perusing the menu. I have a couple of favorites so I made suggestions and Steve ordered an appetizer. The restaurant was quiet but our table was already getting loud. Our waitress, Colleen, was fun and engaging so we knew it was going to be a great experience. We toasted to friendship, birthday, family and love and were soon on our second bottle of wine. Mary loudly proclaimed it was my birthday so everyone would know. As we were finishing our meal Tong, the owner, came over to the table and asked if we’d do a Tequila shot with him in honor of my birthday. Well, yeah! We then convinced him to let Colleen have one too and soon six shot glasses of Tequila were on the table. He then started entertaining us with stories of his life. He has spent time in the music industry and has known John Lennon (who he declared a jerk), Gregg Allman, David Bowie and so many others I have forgotten their names. At one point I wondered if he was bullshitting us, but he had pictured of himself with these people to prove it.
Throughout all of this, Mary kept saying to me, “This is the best birthday ever,” which made us giggle like crazy, well maybe the wine made us giggle but the whole thing was pretty funny. Things took a turn for the funnier when Tong started telling us about his kickboxing skills and lifted his pant leg to let us feel his calf muscles (which were like brick walls). As the meal came to a close, Mary told Colleen that she looked familiar and discovered they had taken belly dancing classes together. A few minutes later, we all whipped out our iPhones and sent Facebook friend requests to each other so we could keep in touch. It was hilarious.
It was still early so we drove over to the new serve yourself yogurt place, Orange Leaf, and had dessert. Mary had just bought a pool table at a garage sale a week earlier and invited us back to the house for what she called “Dago Pool.” Yes, I know the term “dago” is very politically incorrect, but it’s what she calls Doug, who’s Italian so it’s more of an endearment in this case. The reason they call it dago pool is that the pool table doesn’t quite fit in the living room so you have to use a short stick for several of the shots, or open the window and stick the cue out (really!). The table, a Mizerak, was purchased at a yard sale for $75, which included delivery. It is gorgeous! Mary opened a bottle of wine and we played and laughed until almost midnight.
Good food, great friends, lots of laughter and dago pool made this the best birthday ever! We declared July 16th my new birthday!