I turn 40 next week — on Wednesday, the 10th. Patrick and I talked a lot about what to do for my 40th — for a long time I wanted to go to Vegas for the National Finals Rodeo. As some of you know from earlier posts, I have a deep and abiding love of rodeo. The NFR is the rodeo of rodeos, and it’s in Las Vegas, a place so fabulously weird that it seemed appropos for a 40th birthday. But then I moved here, and I have so many nice friends that I didn’t want to trek to Vegas and ask friends far and wide to come join me. I wanted to stay here. I wanted to have a big party and have all my new friends around me. We talked about renting the Elk’s Club (colloquially known as “The Big Room” around here). We talked about renting the newly-renovated Martin’s cafe. I had Patrick, also known as the Concierge on the task.
And then he died.
Which really threw a wrench in, among other things, my 40th birthday plans. I’ve been back and forth about what to do. Apparently, some of my girlfriends have also been plotting, and plans were afoot to rent the Big Room (which conveniently comes with a bar attached). And then last week, when Gary told me he was coming to visit, I decided to suck it up and throw my own party. Because Gary will be here to throw it with me. Which makes it less pathetic than throwing a party alone, especially since we have a clear potluck tradition here in Livingston. I’ll buy a lot of wine, some good champagne for me and some booze for the big guys, cook a ham and a potato gratin and make a big salad. People will bring food and drink, including a cake, the responsibility for which I’ve thrown out to the girlfriends, and we’ll all gather in my house to officially drive out the funeral gloom, to toast the fact that as my friend Hope says (Hope who lost her two older sisters, her father and a cousin when her father’s plane crashed when she was thirteen), “In families like ours, just being alive at 40 is a big achievement and is something to celebrate.”
So, Wednesday night we’ll be here, having a bittersweet celebration. Patrick’s the first one who would have wanted a party, so here we’ll be, eating, drinking, and toasting the fact that we’re all still here, and that we’re alive, and that a new year is about to begin.