Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Italian Luau

The local Italian restaurant Ottavio’s is a favorite family spot. The walls are painted with murals of the watered “streets” of Venice and the rolling Italian countryside. The lighting is dim, food excellent, upholstery red. I have good memories of this restaurant; Ottavio’s is where we held our Wedding Rehearsal Dinner almost 16 years ago. My family is Ottavio’s best customer, reserving entire rooms for private parties often, whether a baby shower, birthday, wedding shower, you name it!

 This weekend when we celebrated my Uncle Richard’s 70th birthday, it was no surprise that fifty of us gathered at Ottavio’s. The only difference was that I was not dressing up for a nice Italian dinner, but dressing down, as there was a South Pacific theme. A sort of Italian Luau; if that even exists (sans the roasted pig, poi and pineapple and heavy on the pasta, bread and vino). Add a grass skirt, loud Hawaiian shirt or sarong, flowered lei, and hibiscus in hair and presto … we were doing the hula in Old Italy.

Without a lot of explanation (I am not sure it can be explained, other than my family values one another to such an extent they stretch to great lengths to make you feel loved and special) when one celebrates a birthday with a “0” (50, 60, 70 …), a customized written musical ensues and is delivered by characters dressed in whatever the party theme might be. One year it was the UCLA (Retired) Cheerleaders, another The (Burrito) Supremes, and another The Lasagna Sorellas. It is an entertaining ritual that is the highlight of these birthday gatherings, and needless to say, the females in my family aren’t shy. They, enjoy creating lyrics and dance moves to a song about the guest of honor, and love getting up in front a crowd. They act like they don’t, but they do. Uncle Richard’s serenade was no different, being sung by four beautiful Island Girls belting out his song that was set to the tune of South Pacific’s, Bloody Mary is the Girl I Love. But tweaked, “Uncle Richard is the man we love (clap, clap, clap, clap), Uncle Richard is the man we love and ‘aint that so damn grand!”
Another thing I liked about this 70th birthday is that we sat at the “kids table.” The kids were all younger than fifty! Median age of 41! That is what happens when you get up there in decades, so do the children … ahh, the cycle of life. Surviving another year is worth celebrating, but those birthdays with a “0,” sure do get a lot of attention around here. As well they should! Every decade above ground is a good one!
 Cheers to you, Uncle Richard! (cin cin)


The Sisters' Hood said...

love the o idea, and wish i had family like you to throw parties for me, would make the whole aging process a little gentler!

Sylace said...

I love the pictures. So exciting and interesting. You seem like you have a thrilling life!


Sharon Huffman said...

That looks like loads of fun...the convergance of many worlds!