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1 February 2011
There was something wrong with the buffet table at our friend Concetta's 70th birthday party.
It was the usual groaning board, filled with crackers, cheese, meat balls, stuffed eggs, veggies, fruit, dips, etc., etc., etc. What was missing? CLAM DIP !!! Nobody had brought clam dip. I thought of doing it, but decided that surely Char or one of her kids would bring the clam dip, but they didn't. I brought a few cheese and some crackers. Oh, it was all delicious, but I can't remember the last party we've had where there was no clam dip.
There was something else even more seriously wrong with the party. I went to get my camera to start taking pictures and discovered that the battery was dead. I usually have a spare battery with me, but for some reason I didn't. I was there with no camera!
I did borrow Char's camera, switch disks and take a few pictures, just so I didn't go into withdrawal. Like this one, with Concetta surrounded by her best friend Phoebe, her daughter Lara, and Kevin, who is the son of Jeri's godmother, Jeri (who, being in Arizona, was unable to attend the party).
This was a remarkable party for many reasons, but the biggest was that--whoever thought Concetta would be here to celebrate it? I remember her reporting what turned out to be the first sign of her MS--double vision. This was before we moved to Davis in 1973. Then we watched her progress from cane to walker to wheelchair and watched her paralysis grow until all the movement she has left is in her head, and the volume of her lungs has decreased to where she is all but inaudible when she speaks, even if your ear is right near her mouth.
But by golly, she is like the energizer bunny. She keeps on ticking. She survived the fire in the Berkeley hills. She still lives in that house perched atop the hill, when all houses around her burned, but hers stayed standing. She continues to travel, until recently to Australia to visit her daughter, but then Lara and her family moved back to California. She has caretakers and friends who get her around, and she continues to enjoy probably more social events than I do. She is an amazing person.
(She is able to maneuver her wheelchair around by moving the control in front of her with her chin--that's half a tennis ball attached to the controls)
This being a Pinata group party, we had a pinata and all of the children of our children lined up to knock it down, youngest to oldest, as their parents had done, Kevin in charge of manipulating the pinata, as his late father did for so many years.
Char, her son Cam and I were talking about the pinata and I joked that when we all start dying, we'll probably have a pinata at our funerals (actually that has already happened, as we had a pinata at Kevin's father's funeral). Cam joked that we could put the ashes in the pinata. Char added that we'd also add wrapped candy. What a novel way to literally scatter ashes.
As we always do at these events, we took photos of all generations. I don't remember the last time we had all of any of the 3 generations at an event--and we didn't have it today, but we certainly had a good representation.
I wonder if we'll ever have a generation 4 picture!
There were two birthday cakes that threatened to start a bonfire.
Since she has so little lung capacity, she relied on the grandchildren to blow out the candles
They had bought the candles that keep reigniting so the kids blew for a long time. Then we all ate cake that had been spat upon by children for 5 minutes. Yum!
But it was a great party, a great tribute to an amazing woman. Happy Birthday, Concetta!
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