A week has gone by since “the big event” and I still haven’t finished putting away all of the party ware or returning the borrowed chairs, benches, tables, platters and coffee urns to their rightful owners.
Over ninety people turned up to celebrate Ruth’s 90th birthday.
They came from next door, across town, and across state lines (New York, Long Island, Chicago, Pennsylvania, Florida, and California), and across the Atlantic (England.)
The guestbook boasts ninety-two signatures.
The birthday girl had a blast, and from the photographic evidence, so did our guests.
To paraphrase Garrison Keiler: welcome to my garden party-- where all the food was above average, all the flowers were good-looking, and all the children behaved better than average.
The gala weekend started with Friday night services in our synagogue (Temple B’nai Shalom), where our rabbi called our family to light candles and gave Ruth a birthday blessing.
Saturday morning was a whirlwind of cooking, plating and setting up.
Fred supervised on the hot hor d'ouevres
Family and friends arrived early to pitch in. Michelle was in charge of serving utensils.
Jennifer and Andrew made lemonade.
Friends brought veggies, sushi and desserts.
In addition to the dozens of scones...
and fruit galore...
the dessert course included Ruth’s birthday carrot cake...
we had a French cream and fruit cake to celebrate Fred’s graduation from UCLA...
a chocolate mousse cake to note Ev becoming retirement eligible...
and a mocha cake for all of the folks with April birthdays.
As guests started to leave, you might imagine it was time for our family to kick back and relax. No way! Unlike most luncheon parties, over 51 guests stuck around (or came back) for dinner.
The week-long Jewish holiday, Passover, was about to begin and Saturday night called for a festive meal.
I had cooked a mountain of traditional foods -- brisket and kugel, tzimmes and charoses -- anticipating a crowd, but until the last minute I had no idea how many folks were staying or where I would set up the tables.
Again, everyone pitched in and in no time at all, tables were moved to the only level ground, my driveway. We kept adding tables, chairs, and place settings as more folks returned.
By the end of the evening, we were dining under a full moon and candlight. It was a truly memorable event. About midnight, an hour after the last guests (my cousin Bruce and his son Ian) headed back to their hotel, it started to rain. It continued to do so for nearly 48 hours!
Both Bruce and Ian's photos, along with mine, Fred's, Michelle's, and Ronnie's photos are shown here. Unlike the rest of us who documented the party, Ian shot mainly close-ups. I’ll be posting photos of Ian’s unique view later this week.