Ninety years is quite the milestone of any celebration, and when one is talking about a life, it is truly remarkable. We just celebrated that milestone for my Mother-in-Law and what a grand turn-out, it was. She was one of eleven children and alas, only she and her brother who is ninety-seven are still here and he came to celebrate as well. With eleven children and the families from that, you can see how the family has grown, and if you figure that my Bride is one of five girls, you can really see how we needed a hall for the festivities. The logistics of this party was immense and at first the schemers of this plot were thinking of a surprise party, but that was finally decided against. The planning was awesome, the invitations, the accounting of responses, the venue, the menu, the centerpieces and photo albums and boards designed to celebrate one person’s life was huge. There were days that I thought my Bride was going to need sedatives to get through everything, but she persevered. All five daughters stood up to make a tribute and speech, and a few of the grandchildren were also getting “volunteered” as well, at the last minute. Our one son, who was a last minute volunteer,’ made a beautiful passionate tribute, as he had the honor of being the first grandchild, and when he discussed how his Grandmother was always there to help everyone that she knew. He started out by asking all of the children that were babysat, and then the nieces and nephews, the cousins, extended family and finally friends of the family and by the end of his speech, by reminding everyone there who had been touched by her unending help to all, there were only a few people that were not standing. It was a very moving tribute. Then another grandson performed some music for the enjoyment of all the guests.
As I said earlier, the logistics of this party was similar to staging a small wedding. It was mentioned that my Bride was getting carried away, not only did she create a video of her Mother for the event, she had also created a music play list for the afternoon, of course I guess she got a little carried away, as there was an accumulation of over nineteen hours of music that she had settled on. The hall had to be hired and the menu had to be decided on. Befitting the stature of the Woman being honored, even the food service was done “family style.” The dinner started out with Caesar Salad, not even close to what my Bride creates, but you know that it was good enough, that I even had a second helping and that is rare. There were two entrees chosen; Chicken Piccata and Roast Beef, there was also mashed potatoes, gravy and green beans. For dessert there was ice cream and chocolate, as well as a choice of the two different cakes that were made for the occasion. There was plenty of food, and the platters were refilled and no one left hungry, which to me, is a wonderful statement.
Then there was a simple bar for the party of beer and wine, as this was an afternoon affair. The selections were straight forward and basically covered most of the requests and I am sure that all could find something to imbibe on. The party was to honor the guest and all made the most of it. The hall supplied wines in the handy-dandy magnum size bottles for the ease of the bartender and the choices were Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and White Zinfandel. The wines were all from Vendage Wine Cellars and were all non-vintage. This is a popular brand of wines for commercial catering companies, as the wine is simple and uncomplicated and the basic choices are furnished. The wines carry a California designation as the fruit is harvested from the entire state as their requirements are vast, but in the niche market that they are in, the winery has won awards, especially in their next step up, which is vintage dated wines. All in all, it was a fine afternoon, and I know that the guest of honor was pleased to see so many of her relatives and friends show up, and for the thoughtfulness of her children.