The party was well started when Amber arrived, turns out they were cutting the cake at 7 though the real party started at 5. Seeing all the people in mid party Amber looked at her phones previous text history from her sister and it read, “ Come by 7 that is when the party begins.” Thinking she would help set up she was there at 6:30. She was glad to have come when she did at least this way she could eat a little something before desert.
There were many people here, more than she expected. She could see from the doorway it seemed there wasn’t one part of the house that didn’t have people. Most of them she knew, her family, mutual friends and friends of her sisters that she has met throughout the years but there were some new faces as well.
Even with all those people she entered without notice. The hall table was over flowing with presents, balloons, and flowers. By the pile of gifts and decorations you would think it was a special milestone birthday like 21, 25, 50, 75, 100 or something like that, nope my sister was turning 31. When you have a family as big as ours, if everyone gives you one present, you already have at least 20. Between her and her husband she had a pretty big family, it was occasions like this that reminded her how big it actually was. It was also events like this that she imagined their feet resting on her patio of dreams. Picturing the patio she heard “Amber where have you been, we’ve waited hours for you, didn’t you get my calls?”
Frustrated Amber replied, “I checked my phone a couple of hours ago and I didn’t see anything.”
“I called you at 5 when the party started.”
“Sorry, I must have been in the shower at that time.”
“No worries, you are here now, come, come, have something to eat you look a little thin, we have plenty of food, you must eat.” Her sisters words were muffled, as all Amber could see was the back of her head as she grabbed her arm and pulled her through the foosball table of people.
“I am hungry I only had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch.” Amber mentioned softly.
“Good, Good, let’s get you a plate” her sister replied while handing her the sturdy paper plate ready to be greased stained with a variety of pot luck delicacies. Holding the plate in her hands as her cousin, the food table stocker, plied food on it from the dining room table covered in mounds of potato and pasta salad, flavored wings, meatballs, fruit, chips, veggies with several dips. By the time she finished surveying the table her cousin had already filled every millimeter of voided space on her plate, soon her plate was the mini version of the homemade feast displayed.
“Don’t forget to see Jimmy for your burger.” Her cousin said handing her the plate.
Half joking knowing she couldn’t eat what was already given to her “Is there room on the plate?”
“Sure there is just put it on top and make a food skyscraper, some people even put the chips in their burgers, it’s all going to the same place anyway.” Barely replying as she already is helping scoop second helpings for another cousin.
“That is for sure. Is Jimmy out back by the grill like usual?” Amber said hopefully, this was the part of these parties she liked, fresh grilled meat and her brother-in-law was good at it too.
“Yep, can’t go one of these parties without Jimmy’s famous BBQ.” Her cousin nodding her head and smiling towards the sliding doors to the backyard.
“I look forward to it, see you later.” She would have heard a response but someone was already asking for a recipe to one of the dishes.
Walking outside to get her burger, Jimmy looked like the man in every TV commercial you see of outdoor BBQ’s, he could have been their poster child with his “Kiss the Cook” apron shiny tool set and the most elaborate grille set up one could want. I think it was even better than their kitchen stove. You could tell he had been there most of the day. He preferred charcoal grills to propane, thought they gave the food a better flavor. Seeing me, he said “Hi ya, Amber, You want a brat or a burger?”
“I thought we were just having burgers?” replying as she checks out the sizzling meat on the grill.
“Now you know I wouldn’t just grill one type of meat, got to have a selection even have some garden burgers if you wanted one.” Proudly he says as he scoops up one for her to inspect closer.
“I think I will skip the garden burger today, never can resist your grilling. Did you get the brats from the butcher at the mini mall on Foster Ave. or at the market.” Hoping that it was from the butcher Amber said eagerly.
“Why Amber, this is a special occasion, of course I had to go to the butcher. George said he made the batch yesterday.” Jimmy was clearly satisfied and honored that she would ask.
Joining the conversation my sister says “You two and your meats, always so particular, personally I can’t tell a darn thing different about any of them.”
“Honey, the same goes with me when you ask about which wine I am about to drink, it is all fermented grapes to me.” We all began laughing.
“and me.” I nodded in agreement with Jimmy. We got along just fine, we could talk of BBQ’ing and how to build a fence all day long. I however was here to celebrate my sister’s birthday so dropping the shop-talk, I went to sit by another cousin.
She was in a floral sundress, Mary Jane high-heels with chandelier earrings jiggling as she greeted me. After a few moments of catching up she had to leave because one of her children needed help setting up a game. I, then was finally able to eat.