Last night my parents took me and the dude, my sister, her fiance, his mother, my aunt, my cousin, her husband, and the girls out to Teikoku for an early birthday dinner. (It's Thursday.) And it reminded me of the birthday dinners Maggie would treat us to. Without all the extra people. She'd just take us out alone. Okay I don't know why dinner for 12 reminded me of that, so just go with it. We'd always have to have our pictures taken. I imagine when we have to clear out her apartment, we'll find a series of photos of ourselves dressed up and holding a drink. (When I turned 13, I started to refuse to have my photo taken in the restaurant, so there'll be a series of photos of me in restaurant parking lots.)
That, it turns out, is my grandmother's favorite pose: drink in hand. It didn't matter that it was a coke not a rum and coke--you had to toast the camera. I guess it meant that we were having fun.
These dinners were the gift, for the most part, but my grandmother always liked for us to open something. So she would gather up these crappy little gifts--even she called them "just junk." They were always strangely inappropriate--one year, sometime in my teens, I got a pen with a giant peach feather (clearly meant for the wedding guest book). It wasn't always writing implements, sometimes it was crappy jewelry or a weird tchotchke. When she goes into clearance-type stores (Big Lots, or in New England Building 19) she can't help but gravitate toward the cheapest of the crap. The clearance rack. The stuff the store manager can't even believe he's put on the floor.
She's been told to stop, but she can't help herself. Nowadays, she springs it on unsuspecting Christmas visitors. Fair warning. She's also been told to stop shopping QVC, but that's a story for another day.
I'm sure I have a photo to illustrate this post, but I am having trouble recovering from my weekend. After I came home from New York, I had to pick the dude up at my sister's at 2am following the boys' trip to AC. (The dude played poker and won a little; my dad played roulette and won a little; my future BIL watched sports and stayed even.) Saturday night was the Library Gala, where the Friends' silent auction raised $2K (go us!). Sunday was the birthday dinner. It was gogogo all weekend.