Sunday, August 6, 2017

Knock Me to My Knees

My willingness to help friends celebrate their birthdays knows no limits.

This one was a two night affair that began Friday night with dinner at L'Opossum and ended early Sunday morning on a screened porch with the Ohio Players blasting.

The birthday celebrant was Beau, dressed fetchingly in a subtly toned Hawaiian shirt and still on a high because of his recent new job, making for a double celebration. The four of us arrived to the flattering semi-darkness of L'Opossum's interior and took over the corner banquette (only because of a reservation made months ago, natch) with a toast to Beau thanks to a bottle of pink bubbly.

The sheer amount of food that we ordered might shame a lesser bunch, but not us.

Escargots cloaked in ham biscuits, a couple of Lettuce Toss Your Salad (impressed, as we were, with its inclusion of "a tight little green goddess downtown"), "Faberge" eggs with caviar and salmon, clams with bacon and herbs and, given the old hippies at the table, the vegan orgy on Texas Beach (five vegetable spreads and papadom).

Next came halibut, beef Swellington, butter-poached lobster mac and the portabello stack with beets, butternut squash and shallot fondue. I'm not ashamed to admit I didn't do justice to my entree after so many starters, but there were no food police at our table.

Not that we hadn't reached an elegant sufficiency, but the birthday bylaws stipulate desserts after a birthday dinner and who were we to mess with rules? There was my flaming chocolate, an apple tarte tatin, lavender limoncello creme brulee and hot black bottom a la mode.

The funniest moment arrived as we sat there in a food coma contemplating our next move. Rubbing his hands together, Beau cracked, "Are we going dancing now?" That's a reference to the time we were out for my birthday and as they dropped me off at home, I turned and asked that question, only to return to the car so we could all go dancing. Not this night.

Saturday night, we reconvened on the screened porch at Pru's manse with additional guests for more celebrating, this time with bubbles, Rose, absinthe and chocolate turtle birthday cake from Northside bakery Morsels. And because Pru was hostessing, also enough cheese and charcuterie to stock a small cheese shop.

Holmes and Beloved were just that day back from a week's vacation on the Outer Banks and when I inquired how things had gone with the other couple, Holmes quipped, "I only got kicked off the island once!"

Apparently he'd had some harsh words for the owners of the Salt Air Motel across the street when they'd left their trashcans in the bike lane and his housemates saw his reaction as un-vacation like. I try not to judge.

Why, just Friday when I was coming back from my rain-soaked walk on the beach, a car driving by had splattered me as it drove through a massive puddle. Did I shake my fist and hurl unkind epithets at the offender? I did not, but probably because I was already soaked to the bone.

Never mind.

Pru's porch is an ideal space for a party of seven bent on non-stop banter and constantly chilling wines. When two of the male members of the party were directed to the same settee, I asked rhetorically what the two non-alpha males had in common.

Beau summed it up first, "We don't like pants!" but his comrade-in-clotheslessness nodded happily in agreement.

When we got low on chilling agents, Beau volunteered to make a 7-11 run, returning with bag in hand across the back yard. "The iceman cometh!" Beloved joked when we spotted him.

"That's the second time this week someone has said that about him when he's come back with ice," Pru noted. Because of course she would have multiple literary friends capable of referencing Eugene O'Neill.

Midway through the evening, the absinthe fountain was filled with ice water and it was drips for all, except the hippie chick who eschews drinking. As the Green Fairy settled over the porch, seconds were ordered and conversation revolved around the unique effect of an absinthe buzz.

That was when Pru decided to replace the Artie Shaw we'd been listening to all evening with something a whole lot more funky and danceable: the Ohio Players.

Because loud music and loopy friends on a screened porch make every birthday better. Pants optional.

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