Never Done: I celebrated Dana's birthday
Every year, my friend Dana has a wonderful (or so I've heard) party for her birthday at her family's (now her) house in Canarsie. Every year that we've been friends, I've been away in Maine during her party -- and that's going to be the case again this year. There's not a lot that could make me disappointed to be in Maine, where I get to be with good old friends, and good newer friend, and the Common Ground Fair, and my family, and on the Damariscotta River, and this year for an extra bonus -- at Serena's wedding. I wouldn't trade that time for anything. But Dana's party sounds amaaahzing, and each year I wish I could be there.
So when she mentioned she was having birthday dinner with her aunt and cousin on her actual birthday, I finagled myself a reservation. I adore Dana's family. They're just like my family only nothing at all like my family. Do you know what I mean? They are warm and close and funny and sarcastic and smart and inappropriate and inclusive ... and in a totally New York way whereas my family is just like that, but in a New England way. I'd actually love to put them all in a room and see what would happen. I know what would happen. They'd start having large family gatherings together, somewhere in Connecticut. (Blue + yellow = green. New York + New England = Connecticut.)
My family would never get together at Olympic Pita Israeli kosher restaurant in Midwood Brooklyn. We'd get together at Parker's Maple Barn on the New Hampshire-Massachusetts border. But we'd stop at Rein's Deli in Vernon Connecticut and slam down pickles and white fish like the best of 'em. And I would guess that Dana's family wouldn't turn down a stack of blueberry pancakes with fresh maple syrup. And maybe my family would feel a little out of place with the Orthodox Jews, and maybe Dana's would not quite fit in with the staid New Englanders. But I still think we're basically the same family.
One of the things that's hard for me about living in NYC is that my family isn't here. I have some incredibly close friends who feel like family to me (A, J, E & L) and that goes a long way to making this place feel like home. Same thing goes when Dana invites me into her clan -- and I remember why she's so rooted here. So, thank you Dana -- for letting me celebrate with you. It's possible your party was as much of a gift to me as it was to you.