A Birthday Tribute

Since I started this blog, I’ve been thinking about what stories from the past (more than 10 years ago) should I write about.  Could I remember the details, could I really get across how funny and fun each particular event really was and would I offend anyone?  Well, this will be the first test.

There’s two reasons I finally decided to take the plunge, 1. a conversation with a longtime friend over the holidays and 2. the 13th anniversary of this 30th birthday party will be in two days.

The year was 1999 and 30 was a big deal, one of those milestones you never thought you’d reach and if you did reach it life had to be about over.  I was divorced and living with a single mom and her daughter.  It was a time in our lives where we were figuring out what we wanted to do and where we wanted to be.  Both of us adventurous enough to make us dangerous.  Oh, those were the days.

This is about her surprise 30th birthday party.  I even dug the album out that has photos of the party tonight, laughing hysterically because I had forgotten some things and also because there are pictures of people who I can’t remember!!!  This particular party took planning and teamwork by many.  One I remember fondly.

The highlights:

  • Happy hour after work in downtown Minneapolis – nothing special, normal place, normal time with hot bartenders.
  • A white limousine waiting for us outside.  This was especially good.  Our joke when we saw a limo was to say “oh, our limo is here”.  Which is exactly what we said when we walked out of happy hour.   She was pleasantly surprised it really was ours this time.  Eats, soda, beer and champagne waited for us.
  • A trip to ‘our bar’ to be sure everyone knew she was over the hill.
  • A stop on the way back to Minneapolis to pick up her daughter who was thrilled with the limo ride as well.
  • Gifts such as: a mini Etch-A-Sketch, a bra for saggy breasts, name tags for all of us with names like Harry Krack and Buster Hyman, a blow up doll and other unmentionables.
  • A reserved room at a downtown bar where one of our favorite bands was playing so they could celebrate the milestone with us and get rowdy.
  • Her family from out of town came to see how crazy we were.
  • Excessive laughter and drinks with good friends.

The funniest part of the night was the ride home.  We had a sober driver (the longtime friend I chatted with over the holidays, poor girl).  The birthday girl and I were sitting in the back seat, probably not being the quiet, cooperative passengers we should have been.

We claimed we needed Burger King at 2:00 AM so she pulled into the drive-thru.  I’m not sure about anyone else but at that time of the night after a long day everything on the menu looks good.  I think the conversation in the back seat went something like this:
Me: “Doesn’t a Whopper Jr. sound great?”
Her:  “Oh, yeah, yeah, we’ll have two of those.”
Me:  “What about those Rodeo Burgers, the ones with the onion ring on it?”
Her: “Ohhhh, we better have those too, and some onion rings, order onion rings.”
Me:  “Fries! We have to have fries, don’t forget the fries!”
Me:  “And a shake, oh my gawd!  Doesn’t a shake sound amazing?”
And on it went for several minutes.  I’m not really sure who said or suggested what but we ordered enough for a small village.  The whole time we’re emptying our pockets and throwing money in the front seat.  I believe she tried to tell us several times that she had more than enough money but we weren’t listening.  To this day she tells us it was a nice tip for having to put up with us.  I imagine the bill was well over twenty bucks and we probably gave her fifty or more.

It was a night to remember with a few photographs lingering.  No YouTube videos, no cell phone pictures or videos (thank goodness), only memories to share when we see each other or in emails and texts.  I wish I was as good back then about writing down details as I am now.

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