Sunday, February 25, 2024

A Birthday in February

Friday was my father-in-law’s 70th birthday, which we ignored.

There was a plan. Don’t fret.

I’m not sure how much Daniel really noticed that we’d kind of skipped over the actual day, as we have celebrated his birthday as late as Labor Day. Holidays happen when you have time for them, after all. I’m sure he knew that something was up and was just waiting for it to snap into place, though.  He knows us well.

Because there was in fact a plan, as noted above, and for a number of reasons it couldn’t happen on Friday but it could on Saturday so Saturday it was.

As always with our plans, it involved food. All the best plans do.

In particular, these plans involved having Kim’s mom take him to dinner at one of those classic Wisconsin supper club places (you’ll recognize them immediately if you’ve ever been in one) not too far from their house by midwestern standards, and then we’d all surprise him there and Feast and Celebrate.

Lauren couldn’t make it because it’s the middle of the semester and two family events in one week is pushing hard on the limits of what can be wedged in between homework and exams, but Kim, Oliver, and I drove up to the supper club, stopping at Costco because we’re addicts that way and of course we did. Justin and Chris were already there, and Rory and Amy joined us not long after that.

And then we waited. They put us in a little back room where people were clearly expected to sit for dinner later – and, in fact, several people did filter in while we were there, which is why it was a bit puzzling that the lights would randomly dip every few minutes. Mood, I guess.

Eventually the guest of honor arrived and we headed into the main dining room – a cavernous place specifically designed to make it impossible to speak with anyone except whomever you’re sitting next to, which enforces a certain intimacy if you think about it.

We chose this place because it served lobster and this is what Daniel wanted, and according to those who also had it it was in fact quite good. But you go to these places for the prime rib, which came out in a plate-concealing-sized portion and was also deemed tasty by those partaking. I’m not sure what possessed me to have chicken parmigiana in a Wisconsin supper club, but we’ll chalk that up as a lesson learned.

Everything came with a soup and salad bar because of course it did. Quite rightly. Kim pointed out that you know you’re in a real Wisconsin supper club when the salad bar has bacon bits in a tub that you can just spoon out in whatever quantity you desire. Life is good that way.

We had a lovely time, sharing a meal and wishing Daniel a happy birthday. You only get these big round numbers so often, and you might as well make it a party.

If you go on your birthday and let them know, they’ll give you a very nice slice of cheesecake and your family can put candles in it and then sing Happy Birthday to you, and if you do that it is very likely that the entire restaurant will sing along and clap at the end, and of such small things are communities made.

Happy Birthday, Daniel!

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