Happy Hour

When I worked, it was pretty common for a long time for a lot of us to meet on Fridays for happy hour somewhere.  Since retirement, though, I’m out of that loop.  My life has its own loops, but that one isn’t in it.  It’s been replaced by occasional adult beverage nights at my house.  Charles will come over and one of us will supply the drinks.

Yesterday, though, the adult beverage night happened on a Friday, and Kay was there, and so it was our own happy hour.

And after yesterday’s long list of tasks, it was welcome.  Not for the one tall drink (or at least not just for that) but for the company and the laughter.  I had a giggle fit the likes of which I haven’t had in months.

By the time I dropped Dad at dialysis, I’d already been up for 6 hours.  I’d made breakfast for him, let him sleep some more, worked on my taxes, washed dishes, put some laundry on to wash, and then awakened Dad so I could shave him and help him change clothes.  Once I left the dialysis center at 11:35, I had 25 minutes to get to Iota to get Dad’s taxes finished.  I made it with 5 minutes to spare — signed the paperwork, paid the bill, picked up the folder, and then headed to Egan.  I tried to start mowing the yard, but didn’t get far.  The riding mower stopped; I wasn’t sure what was wrong — out of gas, or a slipped belt — but I just left it.  Got back in the truck.  Drove to Walmart in Crowley, calling Charles to see if he could check to see if the belt had slipped.  In Walmart while I was shopping, Charles started texting me.  Playing Marco Polo to find me in the store wasn’t easy with texting — no “pinging” sound to guide by!  He had a good laugh because the mower was simply out of gas.  He filled it up for me and then came in to shop too.

I filled the cart with many many items.  Headed home, unloaded the lot, and realized that as much as I’d gotten, I’d managed to forget a few things.  I met Kay at McDonald’s for a few minutes before we headed to dialysis.  We loaded Dad in the truck and then I was on the road, back to Egan, with Kay not far behind.  Once I got him settled, and she was there to be with him, I headed back for a second Walmart run.

And ended up with far more than I’d planned.  While I was there, Dad started talking about getting out some frozen vegetable soup and adding to it — so I had to pick up some potatoes and some canned corn.  He had frozen tomatoes.  Once more I unloaded the lot to the truck only to realize I’d again forgotten one item, something Kay needed.  I grabbed my wallet and went back in for round 3.  The lines were long, and I was gone a couple of hours for the whole of the second trip.  Finally I got to Egan and unloaded.  Again.

One thing our family loves to eat  is pimento cheese.  My late brother Phil’s fiancee was amazed at how much we loved it.  Dad usually settles for the store-made pimento cheese, but not me.  I start from scratch and make it.  It’s real.  And yesterday Kay and I had the same idea.  I had already put the ingredients on my shopping list when she suggested that I make some.  We chuckled at that one.  It’s a given in our list of comfort foods.

So once I was back in Egan and we’d put everything away, I made a huge batch of it.  I also divided the remaining shrimp étouffée into smaller containers and put them in the freezer.  It joined the chill I made two weeks ago for me.  It’s handy to have some things ready to thaw and eat — and homemade, too, not pre-packaged stuff.

One of the things I’d picked up was some limes, so I texted Charles that the Ware bar was open for business.  He came over and while Dad rested after eating some vegetable soup, Kay and Charles and I enjoyed our adult beverages, ate some chips and guacamole, and talked.

And laughed.  It’s fun to reminisce, and between the three of us, we covered a lot of ground.  I started giggling so hard that I couldn’t talk — I don’t even think anything in particular set me off, but the release was wonderful.

One drink, lots of entertaining conversation and memories.  Lots of laughter.  Friendship and family and love.  Dad in the front room that is now his living room.  My dogs in my bedroom, waiting for me.

I went to bed comfortable, happy, and ready to head to Lake Charles this morning to face the flea infestation at my own home.

Which is exactly what I’ve already done by 10 a.m. — gotten the three cats into their respective carriers, put them in the truck, set off flea bombs, closed the house, gone to the vet and dropped off the cats to board until Tuesday and have their annual shots and be de-flead.  Now I’m at Starbucks, enjoying the time and leisure with a venti mocha.  I’ve already seen one friend this morning here — and another’s one the way.  Afterwards, I’ll hit the craft store, pick up meds at Albertson’s, and go to visit another friend.  There’s a poetry reading here at McNeese tonight, an old friend and former professor here — part of the 30th anniversary of the MFA program at McNeese; he was the long-time director of the program.  I hope to see more old friends and former students.  It’s going to be fun.

It was happy hour yesterday, for sure.  And I think there’s an all-day happy hour going on for me now, even if the beverage of choice is a mocha.

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