Vintage Eve of Destruction: Happiness is…Jennifer’s 18th Birthday
I know it’s sick but I will die happy if I never leave the comfort of my street. There’s nothing better than the sight of Ann charging up the hill to say hi, Darryl playing basketball with my one-armed mate, Bobbi with a bottle of bubbly and the view from Lars and Cynthia’s backyard. I tell you I’ve found heaven in SCV.
And last Saturday night proved it. We had a big night planned, sitters and all, so we could go out with our new friends on the street, Lars and Cynthia. Cynthia promised homemade appetizers so we countered with a 1984 Cakebread cabernet. We were supposed to go out to dinner in an hour, to a nice restaurant within walking distance, but at the last minute our plans irrevocably changed.
See what happened was that Lars and Cynthia had to stop by a party, given by neighbors between our houses, before we went to dinner. When I realized it was the big house, the one in the midst of a major remodel, with the huge Mexican front doors to match none other, I kind of wriggled an invite. Cynthia said it would be fine, and we would get there in time to wish the birthday gal a happy eighteenth and then be on our way.
Within minutes, and the back of several paper plates to write on, a story was born. You see, it wasn’t my entire fault though. The hosts Lisa and Rick, by far winning in the best-looking couple category, had imported Cabo Wabo tequila, front doors that were reminiscent of those from Mel Brook’s Young Frankenstein movie (although missing the great “knockers”) and a Hart High graduate daughter, the ever-popular Jennifer, by the hand.
If I manage to make it to my daughter’s eighteenth birthday I learned, last Saturday night, what I would like to see. A daughter that is so happy with her surprise party that she complements my figure, her dad’s physique, their excellent decision to hire a DJ and is willing to dance next to me alongside said DJ! Of course I would like to be able to have the matching mother/daughter belly button rings but since Lisa is a younger mommy and I’m not, well suffice to say it ain’t in the cards that the Michelin Tire Man has dealt me.
Jennifer was happy to see her old and new neighbors along with her own guests. My neighbors said that her great personality was especially noticed in the babysitting talents they saw in her over the years, which Jennifer credited to her own babysitter, Bobbi’s daughter Meredith. It sounded like a neighborhood thing as well as a kind of passing of the babysitting baton, if you believe that can be done.
Lisa had no trouble accommodating the two extra guests, even though she had that much more carne asada meat to shred. Finding the right attire took a little time when Jennifer wanted a certain shirt to change into and Lisa admitted that there hadn’t been time to do the whites today. At that point I no longer felt like an invader…I hadn’t done my whites yet either.
Lindsay, future Signal correspondent and good friend to Jennifer, kept an extra watchful eye on me. What would I write about to fill a column? (Obviously never read me before.) I told her that there was plenty on my paper plates of notes. The sugar rush alone (from the wooden bowl full of Skittles and Starburst) helped to keep me focused on the dance floor and it’s varied occupants.
There was Dr T and the women: Chris, Cynthia, Bobbi, Jennifer, Lindsay, et al. There was Lars attempting, to no avail, to find the beat in Michael Jackson. (ALL men are color and beat blind.) Jim danced with me when no one else would while his wife, Shelley, was verbally enraptured with another old friend. There was Lisa showing that motherhood need never be dowdy as she proudly wore the label from one of the mixers saying, “Shake well before each use” across her back. Rick sipped his tequila and ice while magically always keeping a full blender of margaritas in anticipatory attendance. And there was Jennifer’s good friend the every-brainy/pouty-lipped Shauna. And it was at that point I switched to ice-water because I couldn’t recall if it was Shauna or Lindsay that had pouted her lips while she did her own musing.
We old farts danced along with the new ones to Madonna, Ricky Martin and Destiny’s Child. I knew my quadriceps would make me pay for it later and decided that crashing a party the same day as my Saturday spin class might have to be re-evaluated. (Foregoing the spin next time.) The DJ sent fog and strobe lights to help us find our long lost dancing legs and for a minute we were one with Jennifer and her court.
That’s when it hit me anew: I don’t need to ever leave my street again! If one of us were to host a party every Saturday night, maybe rotating so that each would have to do it only two or three times a year, we would never have to leave home again! Lars is already planning some kind of open-faced-Danish-sandwich gig for the 4th of July, Samantha wants an Astro-jump in the middle of our street for her birthday, Lisa can cater Cinco de Mayo/Jennifer’s birthday every year, Rick and Ed could bartend tequila and scotch accordingly and Heather could begin as the “anchoring” house at the end of the street.
It sounds like too much to you novices doesn’t it? Trust me on this, Jennifer dug it as much as we did last Saturday night. One reason? No one drove home drunk…we all just walked home. And for those of us who left early, to beat a deadline, we were serenaded into the night with birthday wishes to Jennifer wafting between the oaks, owls and coyotes! Thanks for letting us crash your party Jennifer! We hope so see you all at the next “block” party soon! Hope it won’t have to wait for Jennifer’s nineteenth!