Recently, my workplace had a staff party. We were all to bring at least one person. Or two. I wanted to bring my Abbylicious. Aka Watson. Alas, she was snuffly nosed, and raspy voiced. So she remained at home, and a party happened at the restaurant. I dearly missed her. Watson: this post is for you, with all of my love.
Well, Watson. You know the ridiculous details of before the party. Oh, yes. I was singing along to Neil Diamond and John Denver while baking trays of lemon bars, and then proceeding to eat at least a 1 1/2 bars for every plate I compiled. You also saw me crash in front of the computer for an hour, zoning out of reality...embarrassing. Then getting ready for the party. You had the immense comfort of lying on your bed, watching instant Netflix while I threw red heels and black sweaters everywhere, yelling at Tim to stay out of the room until a more suitable (and less dangerous) time. However, Watson, it was quite demanding of you to insist that I "multi-task" while I threw my hair up into a bun and answered texts and panicked at the clock. Then you had the audacity to laugh at me. Really, Watson.
How about running outside and perching the floral arrangements on the rail, adding the flowers last minute? That was marvelously comical and chilly. Blah. Loaded up the car, we did, and refused to hug or kiss your woozy, un-well self.
After leaving you all by your lonesome to be as sick as you needed to be, we drove to the restaurant. Oh, and we saw a wicked lifted monster truck. Just saying...
Chef and Sous-Chef S. were there...they are always in that kitchen. It would be odd, somehow, to enter the restaurant, and not find them within their sphere. You get me, don't you, Watson? Brrr, it was cold in the restaurant. On went the heaters and the lights. Down went the chairs. Across the floor we dragged the tables, and pretty soon we had the setting for a party.
Watson. After B & B-love arrived, guess what B did? He turned on the music. Bluesy Christmas music, Watson. Yes. No need to say more. If you had been there, my geek, we would have picket-pocketed his phone, you coulda hacked the password, and we would have switched that Pandora station over to some good old Eric Church or Clint Black. Next time, I think that we need to rally with Sweet-Tea and her sister to vote for country music...
While other people were arriving, I got to slip into the kitchen and watch Chef cut up Parker. That's what I named the porker. Now, Watson, I am far too familiar with your aversion to whole, porcine presentations, especially when the animal has retained much of it's original shape. Read me out, Watson. Chef did a gorgeous job. See?
Did I mention that Sous-Chef S. had the funkiness to stick an apple in Parker's coppery mouth? Oh, my-my-my. She found the smallest apple she could, and she did her bestest to stuff it into that stubbornly locked jaw. Chef grinned, wiped his hands on a towel, and together, he and Sous-Chef S. pried that mouth farther open and stuck that apple in.
B-love was just the cutest, perkiest little thing ever. She puttered, putting out drinks, greeting all the staff arriving. Had you been there also, you two woulda killed us with the whole cute-as-a-button-girl-thing you can pull off.
Watson, you would have been excited about the variety of food. Parker the porker, J's kimchi, Mum's salad, A's scrumptious shrimp salad, Sweet-Tea's colorful fruit platter, R's crispy won-tons, D's delicious espresso brownies, and the paella pans. Yes, the paella pans: full of chunks of warm meat covered in glistening, penny-colored skin, atop roughly chopped onions, carrots, and celery. Lemon coated arugala filled the chinks, along with hunks of seeded baguettes that were soaking up the dark, flavorful juices on the bottom of the pan. A giant stone pestle of Chef's salsa verde-esque provided dimension and uniqueness...darnit, gotta say it (forgive me, Chef: quirkiness.)
Watson, it was an incredible sight if nothing else. With incredible scent, besides. When dinner-time began, the sight and the scent were discarded for a triple combination of sight, scent, and flavor. To taste, to smell, and to view are abilities we ought to treasure and use to their fullest potential.
We played a game or three. The blind tasting game held me in suppressed stitches of laughter. You cannot laugh when you're directing a game, but it was a rather tempting notion. Especially when O was pitted against Chef (challenger supreme...who wants to try to beat a chef at flavor guessing?) and she spat out the name of the food (honey) so fast that I don't think Chef even had time to blink beneath that blindfold. She won out of sheer determination to do so. Love that fierce spunk. By the by, B chose the magenta blind-fold: the crazier the better. Even Mum participated. And B-love looked darling when she pushed her blindfold up like a bohemian headband.
Sweet-Tea won the chocolate covered espresso beans. She guessed 280...the actual count was 273! Sous-Chef S. won the mystery jar. Her guess was chex mix- close to trail mix in my mind.
There was one particular moment when you, especially, were missing. I was standing behind the bar with some dirty spoons in my hand, watching the folks eat, laugh, drink, and talk. You needed to be there, because it was one of those happy/quiet/satisfying experiences. Maybe you can see it in your mind, though, and you will recognize it when you find it some day. That's a special thought, isn't it?
If, as your sister, Watson, I ever give of my life to you, these are the elements I would have you retain in your heart and soul: that one can take a person under wing, and do a few important things for them. Feed them, and nourish their body, fulfill their appetite, satisfy their cravings. Listen, reply, and look at their eyes as though they are the one and only memory that will ever account when the road ends. Create moments of laughter: where you find that you're both reaching out to hold each other up, because you're laughing so hard you can barely stand. And give warm, loving, long hugs. Hugging creates bonding, trust, and contentment. In this, Watson, you will do well.
At the end of the meal, evening, or moment, look inside. If you have nothing else to give, and you are happier than Agnes was when Gru won that huge, fluffy unicorn for her, then you should be sighing and smiling. And saying, of course, "It's so _______ I'm gonna die!"
Love you, Watson.
The Barefoot Girl.