Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Riley's Birthday

1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Love is patient, love is kind. 
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, 
it keeps no record of wrongs. 
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

I was baffled for weeks about what to do for Riley's birthday. It was on Wednesday - the day our group meets. I liked the idea of including the group, but I didn't like the idea of excluding the family. Then I came up with the idea of having a family birthday dinner for Riley on the Sunday before his birthday. I can't remember the details, but that fell flat. So there I was, still wondering what I was going to do.

I often asked Riley what he would like to do, and he was not forth-coming with any good ideas. Well actually, he had gotten the idea that he wanted onion rings. That sounded terrible to me, due to the fact that I've been slightly nauseated ever since I got a bad cold in November. Fried food is not appealing. Then the morning of his birthday I made everyone pancakes, we took Christian to school, and then we went through the Starbucks drive-thru, where we talked with Caroline, who works there. In chatting with Caroline, who realized it was us and came to the window, she mentioned that her best friend from childhood - Jenny - had died on Monday. I immediately felt that it was a bad idea not to have the group. But Riley had already e-mailed everyone earlier in the morning that we weren't having the group because of his birthday.

Well I took Riley to work, all the while thinking of what to do. After dropping of Riley, Emily and I went to Goodwill, and while there I decided that I would just contact everyone to have them come, not telling Riley of course. So then I went back to Starbucks and told Caroline, who said they would be coming. Then I went home and found the phone numbers of both Jake and Merideth on Riley's computer, and I called both of them, needing to leave a message both times.

Then I needed to get a big cake made, and I needed to think of how to get Riley to dinner in such a way as to be able to get home by 7:30, not too late, but soon after out guests arrived. Heidi and her group - Christian, Emily, Stephane, and Parker - would be there, as well as Annie and Corey. The cake I made was from the Rose's cookbook, and was a cake Riley had requested. I made half the recipe, as the whole recipe called for putting the batter into 3 10 inch cake pans. I used the 6 1/2 inch pans, and each layer was perfect, coming just to the top of the pan when cooked. But the frosting was an absolute pain. I think that an ingredient was omitted. I just couldn't get it to turn into frosting, until I finally added about 1/4 cup heavy cream. I was then supposed to stir in the chopped pecans into the frosting before spredding onto the cake. That was a really big pain, and I had to affix the frosting to the cake using my fingers, because it just wouldn't spread. The cake was really tall and narrow, and looked rather silly. But what could I do.

I finally came up with the idea of picking him up after work and telling him we were going to go to a restaurant we'd never been to before. At first I'd thought of taking him to a restaurant that needed reservations, but in these hard economic times, reservations are not the thing. I decided that Italian was the best idea, and I soon came up with the idea of going to "3 Doors Down" in the Hawthorne district. It came well recommended.

I was just a tad late picking him up, as Corey was not really willing to help me. She was really miffed at the idea of having to entertain young married couples. But Riley was all ready to go when I got there, and he was delighted with the idea of a surprise new restaurant. As I headed up Hawthorne he was quite perplexed, as I'd told him that it was a slightly posh restaurant that he'd never been to. By the time we got to about 32nd he guessed "3 Doors Down", but I didn't tell him he was right until I parked the car. I really was quite the restaurant, especially for Hawthorne. We both ordered a seafood pasta dish, with a shared caesar salad before. I ordered a glass of wine, and Riley ordered a martini. By the time we were finishing our dinner it was getting very close to when we should leave, but I was doing my very best to not let Riley know I was in a hurry to get home. When the waitress asked if we would like dessert, I told Riley that we had a specially dessert at home. But upon seeing the dessert menu, Riley decided that he wanted to have some coffee. At that I knew we were going to be late getting home, but I remained as absolutely cool as possible, so as not to give a hint as to what was happening. Though I did help him a little with drinking his coffee.

Luckily, after leaving the restaurant, he did not suggest we go to Powells. We headed straight home. But as we arrived at our block he did notice that there was an unusual amount of cars parked outside our house. I told him that someone else must be having a party. But of course, as soon as he walked up onto the porch, he noticed all the people in the house. To my delight every one was there, and the table was all set up for dessert. It turned out that Corey, in an effort to not be social, had decided to get things ready.

We sang happy birthday.

Then we had cake.

We all watched

as Riley opened presents. I gave him a very nice garden fork.

""Think! How the hell are you gonna think and hit at the same time?" 
Yogi Berra


JRWoodDuck said...

Lovely story... so far so good. Where is it going?

JRWoodDuck said...

I love the verse you used...