As Paige said in the last blog, the time leading up to our big party was quite up and down. We did not want to think of the inevitable and begin to get teary eyed. The party was a way to say goodbye to everyone and celebrate my birthday in one big bang. It would be easier for everyone to do it that way. I didn’t think much about who would be there and how the night would be structured. Prior to Sunday when we saw people we knew and liked to hang out with we just said “Come to the Winston Sunday night for my b-day and going away party.” I requested an ice cream cake so I knew that would be very party-ish but other than that I hoped it would be just another night at the pub.
Boy was I wrong.
As we got to the Winston about 30 minutes late (fashionably late of course) and rounded the corner to the big window I saw about 30 people already there taking over one whole side of the bar and I started to choke. We shared a cab with Tim and Kelly and they were with us as we walked so I did’t say anything to Paige. I was thinking, “are all these people here for us? Really?”. I had a rush of feeling very lucky but also anxious, “Am I going to lose my shit in there and cry?”. We walked in and took a quick look around the room: everyone was there. Bike Ride co-workers, Bike Ride friends, riding buddies, Lark co-workers, Bottega co-workers, Cocina de Mama fans and even our awesome butcher showed up. There were so many people I didn’t even know the etiquette on how to try and chat with them all and that made me even more anxious. “Quick, I need a Gin and Tonic!”. After about five G +Ts I started to settle down and make a few rounds. I stopped saying, “oh shit…oh shit”, and started thinking “wow, this is incredible.” At one point I could have counted close to 50 people. As it was my birthday I was told I was not allowed to buy any of my drinks but the caviate was I was also not allowed to pick them. Awesome. So, after some Gin and Tonics, Rum drink, Mulled wine, Tequila, Mezcal, and beer I started to get a bit huggy (that is when I start to hug people). There were a few moments where I got a bit emotional. Towards the end of the night I had a good booze but it helped clear my head to gather this epiphany:
“All these people were for us. Even though we could spend much time with all of them that night and chat they all chatted together and co-mingled. I saw Bike Ride people and Lark people talking and laughing and having a great time. These are all great people and they made up our community and if it wasn’t for them we never would have had the experience that we did. We are very lucky and look forward to having these people come into our lives once again.”
And the Valhalla coffee ice cream was delicious! Thanks Paige.