For several years now, two of my Pisces friends, Jo-Ann McCoy & Stephanie Kennedy, & I celebrate our Pisces birthdays during March.
Jo-Ann works internationally & lately some years she is not with us. This year Stephanie & I wanted our friend Raquel “Rocky” Caylor to join us.
Rocky could not join us for lunch on the scheduled day – it was Spring Break & she was in West Texas with her family (Rocky has SEVEN children & is THE most amazing working mother I have ever known). But I was hungry for stimulating company & a break & hopeful that my mother would have her flap surgery to close her wound next week so Steph & I met at the Harvest Organic Grill.
To celebrate with just the two of us. On St. Patrick’s Day.
I wore a shamrock scarf & Stephanie wore green socks. We selected a nice table for two & I scattered shamrock confetti. ;-)
We were perusing the menu (although we had both decided what we wanted from the website or experience) when someone began singing Happy Birthday.
At first I thought it was for us.
However, it was from the middle room with the bar & TVs. Next to a half wall that backed up against our our table – filled with tables of women dressed in splendid, festive, colorful head scarves. A spattering of men & women without head coverings.
Asian – perhaps the Philippines, perhaps Singapore, perhaps Malaysia. Beautiful faces but not the faces of my Vietnamese or Chinese or Thai friends. No burkas – just those festive head scarves of amazing fabrics. Scores of them.
Although several of the women had these festive giant beret type things that covered all their hair.
My back was against the half wall surrounding the room – so Steph narrated what she could see. I kept trying to peer between the strange fake native grass on the half wall shelf between our table & the middle room without being conspicuous.
Steph commented that the vocalist (a vocalist who will never get a recording contract) did not match the crowd – she was dressed in a business suit without a festive head scarf or festive oversized beret.
We wondered exactly who these celebrants were, who was the honoree. Who was the vocalist, who was the dude manning the keyboard, a dude who controlled the volume.
The Happy Birthday rendition went on forever – while we talked over the menu and the unrelenting song, while we ordered, while we waited for our water & glasses of house organic Chardonnay.
Happy Birthday was about 1,000 decimals too loud.
There was a brief pause after the eternal birthday song. For a moment, we thought that was it. We turned the conversation to other things.
But, it was not the end of the vocalist who will never get a recording contract.
The music continued with songs like Kenny Rogers’ “Islands in the Stream.” Which of course, was originally a Bee Gees song. And other gems from the seventies & early eighties.
Steph said, “These people are not old enough to remember this music. There is a disconnect here.”
It went on & on & on, each song worse than the previous, throughout our entire meal. As we were sharing a dessert, the business suit clad vocalist began a rendition of “My Way.”
After surviving our way through it, a beret clad woman from the crowd grabbed the mike & sang her version of the song. Her Way.
I watched & listened to Her Way through the fake grass, another disconnect in an organic space.
The impromptu vocalist, too, will never get a recording contract. It was painful.
But she did have on a fabulous black & white blouse & one of those magnificent festive berets.
After our dessert, we exited during a final break in the serenade & Stephanie told me, “You always plan the most interesting events.” She commented that we were lucky to have escaped without having to hear “Muskrat Love.”
I told her I would try & outdo myself next event.
It was a fine Pisces celebration. Steph kept me entertained & engaged. Such a wit, such a fine listener, such a sweet spirit.
It was several hours of great conversation, laced with laughter & insight.
The artichoke soup & salad with the house champagne vinaigrette were fabulous as usual & we split a dessert. Tiramisu, garnished with a strawberry cut like a radish. It was, after all, a celebration.
When I got into my car to drive home, the Spanish station I listen to in order to attune my ear to the language played another blast from the past : “Donde O Cuando Puede Ser Mi Bebé” - Where Oh Where Can My Baby Be?”
Always an adventure.