Thursday, May 3, 2018

The Birthday Party

This evening's belated celebration of my sister's 68th birthday wouldn't be the first familial indiscretion to be cheerfully tolerated.  The abuse in this instance was all the more openly avowed because the delay (of almost a month) was previously considered and accepted.  The accommodation was the result of my sister's and her husband's absence in Florida on the day of her birth - a milestone which we ourselves only coincided with upon our own return from Florida the day before.  So at last today we four reunited at the Pelican Seafood Market and Grill where once again we were assured the finest oysters, lobster and pan roasted sea scallops.

Our reunion (for that is partly what it was) also marked the first time we had seen one another since our departure to Florida last October. Apart from the physical condition of each of us there wasn't much in the way of news to report as we had regularly communicated throughout the duration of our winter sojourn.  Nonetheless we lapsed into the customary preoccupation of people our age to revisit matters affecting our health generally, including a discussion of the palliative effect of magnesium oxide, an admittedly near scathing assessment of the public medical system (with the pat assertion of the need to be one's own advocate), a review of homemade banana bread and an inspiring commendation of the $130 Glucksteinhome down-wrap firm support pillow from Hudson's Bay Company.

We weren't long detouring from these details upon the arrival of the menus at the restaurant.  The conversation summarily went mute while we collectively pored over the mouthwatering temptations. Our waiter immediately proved himself knowledgable and competent, a qualification he thankfully maintained throughout the entire meal (which extended in total close to two hours). It is a measure of the facility of our conversation at table that I am challenged to recall in detail what exactly constituted the features of our discourse. Typically our intimacy as relatives meant that the dialogue was both wholesome and pertinent. The topics were naturally punctuated with segments about their children.  A casual allusion was made to a financial advisor and mutual legal counsel.  Inquisitive matters of future travel plans surfaced briefly as well as some pointed references to the cost of real estate on the Gulf Coast. Somewhere the standard subject of the weather evolved. Occasionally the temperament became increasingly robust as the litre of white wine slowly evaporated.  Corny jokes were reignited. And we ended by confessing a most satisfactory meal.

By coincidence my elder niece celebrated her 33rd birthday yesterday.  I received an email from her during this evening's congress in which she advised of the nature of her own celebration. This in turn melded nicely with our earlier visit to my elderly mother at her retirement residence at which we had discussed both birthdays. It pleases me greatly to have conjoined these critical family events howsoever gently. It is no secret that the history of my own immediate family is marked by vast distances between us which meant we frequently missed the opportunity to be together or even share. I won't pretend to enthuse upon the more intimate vernacular but I will say that simple moments like these are compelling.

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