Dear 123Greetings Subscriber,
Thank you so much for the emails you’ve been sending me. I’m feeling a bit better these days. I think it’s also because of the ‘parties’ we’ve been having.
Congratulations On Your Pregnancy
It’s all Donna’s fault. One of her sisters is pregnant so she made me go to the baby showers. I mean what would I know about baby showers, right?! But she pulled this whole guilt trip on me and said, “Look Bob, I need to go to the baby showers because this kid is going to be my niece or nephew. My mom and my sisters are always complaining because I never bring a date or get married. I think you can return a favor or two by coming with me.” I couldn’t refuse. I did owe her a couple of favors. I thought, what the heck, it’s just going to be a bunch of people hanging out right?
Boy, did I think wrong. First off, I was the only single guy at the baby showers, missing the game! I had to be nice, so I brought a gift Donna helped me pick out and congratulated the mom-to-be. For you guys who have not been to a baby showers (it was my first time, too), trust me, MAKE ANY EXCUSE YOU CAN TO GET OUT OF IT! First off, the husbands were all acting like they’d been sent to Death Row. All the ladies are talking away, giving advice about baby stuff and birth. I mean where do they get all that information? Ok, on second thought, I would rather not know. I think I learned more about babies there than I ever wanted to know!
I had to slowly edge away from ‘baby talk’ to where the guys were hanging out in front of the TV in the den. I introduced myself to John, who was one of the dads there. I thought maybe he’d guide me through this whole thing–at least he’s experienced. He came by, handed me a drink and laughed, “Who sucked you into this?” I was shocked. I had to brace myself and said, “Donna, she’s a friend.” “That’s a lot of love, man,” John said smiling wickedly. It was weird. I didn’t know what to say so I asked, “Why are you guys standing? Why can’t we sit and watch the game?”
“You never, ever sit in front of the TV! That’s the first commandment at baby showers. They will cut your head off.” Ok. That was very important to know. “If they ask, say you’re going to the bathroom or getting a drink. Never, ever say you’re watching the game,” advised John. Maybe the information will be vital to my survival in the future, who knows. But thank goodness Donna came and got me, “Come on in guys, we’re opening the gifts, now!” I won’t bore you with the rest of the details. In fact it was all a long, boring, scary blur to me. I wanted to go home to my Tivo. That was something I was really looking forward to that day.
I might’ve missed the Packers vs. Giants game but I AM NOT going to miss the Super Bowl! Giants are going all the way baby! They had a lot of ups and downs this season. I admit, there were moments when I thought Giants wouldn’t make it but they did make a comeback. I mean, did you see that beautiful pass in Chicago? That was awesome man. And the Green Bay game was the coldest game in recorded history of the Giants. Did you know that?
I’m really looking forward to Sunday. We’re having a little party at Rick’s place out in Jersey. Steve, Adrian and Megan are coming, but Donna’s too busy with her sister. I’m rooting for the Giants, and my man Eli Manning! Megan’s rooting for that pretty boy, Tom Brady, just because he’s from California. Megan might be right in her instincts too, after all the Patriots have the longest perfect season in professional football. We’ll see if that’s still the case this Sunday.
There’s more to Eli than just football, though. After Hurricane Katrina, Eli and his brother, Peyton, delivered water, pillows, baby formula, diapers, and Gatorade to the people of New Orleans.
Mardi Gras [Feb 5]
New Orleans also happened to be Eli Manning’s hometown. Rick and I decided to go to Mardi Gras in New Orleans. I had never been there and wanted to see how the city has fared since Katrina. Boy was it hot, even in February! It was like walking around in front of air conditioner exhausts all the time. I grunted and complained to Rick and our cab driver said, “Nawlins is hot any time of year!” He also told us that the festivities had already started on Bourbon Street, so we headed directly there to see what all the fuss was about. It was a good thing we only had a backpack each because we barely made it out of the cab! The streets were so crowded and people were everywhere!
The sights and sounds were overwhelming. There was music everywhere and a crush of people, and police on foot and horseback. The floats were huge, but my eyes kept getting distracted by the pretty girls. I tossed a couple of coins at a saxophone player playing Miles Davis. Then we passed a half-door in the wall. Rick whistling his tune, grabbed my sleeve and pushed me closer to the door. It was literally a closet, set up as a bar, where you can buy booze in a plastic cup to walk along Bourbon Street during the evening.
“That’s a custom I could get used to,” said Rick. We bought lagniappe (Creole, we think, for trinket–actually cheap plastic beads) to throw at the ladies. I have to say, there were plenty of pretty ladies to be seen. We kept walking around and ended up over on Rue Royale heading down towards the Café Du Monde, a place suggested by Donna before we left.
We found a table right next to a group of lovely young ladies and ordered ourselves some beignets and chicory coffee. Rick asked me where the hotel was from there, so I went to dig the address out of my wallet. It wasn’t in my back pocket. It wasn’t in my backpack. It was gone. I had been the victim of a pickpocket. The coffee and beignets arrived and we discussed what to do. Rick had his own cash, but mine was gone, along with my driver’s license, credit cards, everything.
“This is most unfortunate,” said a rather distinguished old African-American gentleman seated at the next table. We asked him to join us and next thing you know, he’s telling us to scrap the hotel and come along to his house. Now, back in New York (or Pasadena, even), children are told never to go with a stranger, but this guy seemed all right. We decided to trust him and accepted his invitation. He drove us to a part of the city called the Garden District. At this point we couldn’t see much, it being late and all, but these were real mansions, with big cast iron fences and gates. We passed through the gateway to his place and entered a carriageway that took us back into a courtyard at the rear of the house. As the car passed through, we saw that the entire courtyard was lit up with hurricane lanterns. Plants and flowers of every description could be found there. A fountain was gushing forth, and get this, the guy had two peacocks strolling across the way!
We were greeted as if we were family. They took us in, fed us a huge feast of southern and Creole specialties, and made up beds for us to sleep. These were some mighty kind and generous folk, and I slept soundly and comfortably, even in the heat. Over the next few days, Henry took us on a plantation tour, and even to the bayous to look for gators. We had jambalaya, po-boys and mufalattas. He took us to fancy restaurants on Bourbon Street, showed us the best jazz clubs, and even taught us about the cemeteries. When it was time to leave, I was actually sad to go. Henry and his family had definitely shown us that famous “Southern Hospitality”. We swapped contact info, but Henry said it’s too cold up there in the “Nawth”, but we’ll always have a standing invitation to visit him again… maybe this year?
Chinese New Year [Feb 7]
Adrian is taking all of us out to a Dim Sum feast in Chinatown for the Chinese New Year down on Mott Street. He said that it’s a tradition that you hang out with your family and reminisce about the past year and welcome the new. It is believed that the children can prolong their parents’ lives by participating. Since he’s not with his family, he’s adopted us to be the family and we’re going to have Dim Sum!
Since we’re doing the Super Bowl Sunday at Rick’s we’re going to miss the Chinatown parades. So we decided to do the Chinese New Year celebrations in Flushing instead. We’re going to see the steel drummers, fireworks and my personal favorites–dragon dances.
Oh, I almost forgot to mention about Megan’s birthday party. My mom sent me a bunch of stuff because she was making my old room into a crafts room for her scrapbooking stuff (she prints out all my email newsletters). There was a giant Valentine made of construction paper with glitter glue, little candy hearts and lace that Megan gave to me when we were in first grade. So I got it framed and gave it to her. She got all misty-eyed on me… and acting kind of weird, but she loved it, laughing and crying at the same time! She made a comment about my date with Kaitlin, the redhead I met last week. Wait until I tell you next week how wrong a date can go… but that’s another story… See you next week, folks!
FREE GREETINGS FOR THE PLANET