Just because it’s an imaginary birthday party doesn’t mean you don’t have to do the work. Those of you who’ve already shown up, you can help me set up for tomorrow. And we’ve got a keg of root beer that requires our attention.
Here in real life, it’s cold and grey and rainy. We will have perfect weather for the party: plenty of lawn chairs around the big catalpa tree for sing-alongs, tall tales, and Mad Libs. By all means, Mad Libs. Have you noticed the tree is occupied by cardinals and bluebirds?
Our celebrity guests will be Byron the Quokka and Norbert. Quokkas are already setting up the Monopoly table.
Remember, you’re all invited, we’re going to have a wonderful (albeit imaginary) time… and there will be no nooze. It’s my birthday, and I’ll bar the doors to the nooze if I want to, so there.
I was on the phone yesterday morning, and Patty was trying to write up our grocery list–not so easy, these days, when you don’t know from day to day what the supermarket will have on the shelves.
“Oh, what can we have for supper this weekend? Uh, for tomorrow, would you like this can of Dinty Moore stew?”
I looked at her incredulously.
“You mean… canned stew for my birthday dinner? Canned stew?” I mimed a dispirited prisoner picking listlessly at his nutra-loaf. “While you’re at it, how about six of the best across my back?”
She just about died laughing. So did Susan at the other end of the phone line. Poor Patty. Because my present had already come in the mail, days ago, she simply forgot today was my birthday. I mean, not to pick on Dinty Moore Stew, but I really was expecting something a little more festive.
So we’re going to have Chinese food for supper, because our local Chinese restaurant has re-opened after a month and a half of being closed.
Poor woman laughed for a good fifteen minutes… Well, hey, we needed that.
Patty told me she’d ordered something special for my birthday, “something you haven’t had in a long time.” Well, that could be just about anything. It was supposed to be delivered that day, and we kept checking, until finally a big box arrived on our doorstep. What could it be? It was a very big box.
With my liquidator’s sample knife, I carefully opened it to find a sealed styrofoam container. Inside, resting on a bag of dry ice, were three smaller plastic containers–and an “Oh, no!” moment for us, because the contents didn’t look like anything in particular.
“They’re supposed to be crabcakes,” Patty said, “but what could have happened to them? Did they get thawed in transit?” If so, they might not be altogether safe to eat. Nevertheless, there they were, and I left my wife in the kitchen to see what she could do with them. I didn’t dare ask what they cost. I never will.
But they were, in fact, big, beautiful crabcakes, lumps of sweet crab-meat galore, and I had them for supper.
Oh, bliss! They couldn’t have been better! Food of the gods, ambrosia, unbelievably good. I ate them as slowly as I could, to savor every superb mouthful; but alas, I couldn’t make them last all night.
But I won’t forget them–best birthday dinner that I ever had.