August 18th has been a day we’ve celebrated for a long time. I first started celebrating 21 years ago when my nephew Tom was born on this day. Through the years, there’s been birthday parties and calls (and now texts) to wish Tom the very best on this day and he has always been a joy to celebrate. He’s a good kid and he’s grown up to be a pretty outstanding young man – funny, kind, respectful and loving. Can’t ask for more than that. He’s about to enter his senior year at UCONN and he has a whole world in front of him to conquer and enjoy. He was going out in Boston to celebrate his turning “legal” and I offered him three pieces of advice:
- If you are in a sketchy bar, never drink from a glass – always order a beer in a bottle.
- If someone buys you a shot and you don’t want to do it, throw it over your shoulder when no one is looking.
- Never ever snap your fingers for a bartender’s attention.
He’ll figure the rest out on his own – that’s part of the fun. I am looking forward to having drink with him at a bar in the near future. Happy birthday Tom!
When I met Lola some 15 years ago, August 18th became another occasion to celebrate – it was her Mom’s birthday too. One thing you can say about the Mellows – they know how to do birthdays. It doesn’t matter if you are turning 3 or 30, they come together to make any occasion special. Presents, cake, the Birthday Song (the extended explicit lyrics version), gifts, the whole shebang. It’s all Gigi’s influence. She would do whatever she could to make your day special. She was the original celebrator. She made you feel special, not just on your birthday or on holidays, but any time you were in her company. When Gigi’s birthday rolled around, she wouldn’t want anything fancy – just family and friends with some pizza and beer – make it easy. That’s all it took to make her happy on her special day. She deserved celebration too.
Most of my readers know that Gigi passed away almost six years ago and the world has never really quite been the same since. There is still joy and fun and celebration in every day, but there is a hole in our hearts that will never quite be fully mended. Thankfully we have all the happy memories that Gigi left behind and when we can, we do our best to celebrate her. That’s why we still celebrate her birthday in Gigi style, which this year meant heading to one of her favorite spots, Second Beach in Newport, and relaxing on the beach with family and friends.
I had never been to Second Beach. Ever. So this was a new experience for me. It’s pretty nice there (as if I am giving away a hidden Newport secret). When we got there (2 hours after our planned arrival time in true Gigi fashion), Becky was there holding down the spots along with Cherie and her kids. Jeanie and Mae were there too (they are becoming regulars on this blog) as was Lola’s cousin Jen and her two daughters. This was the spot where Gigi would set up camp next to her sister Kath while all their kids would roam the beach and play. It must have been a trip for Lola to see this – the next generation in the same spot playing in the same sand. It was warm out, but the breeze off the ocean kept you cool. The water was warm and although there was an onslaught of seaweed, you could swim past it to enjoy the surf. Pretty beautiful spot.
As the day went on, more people joined us: Dave (Jeanie’s husband), our blog technical consultant Kate and her son Rex, Jen’s husband Kirk, Katie and her kids, then Jeff, Molly and Sam. Quite a crew. We snacked on Hostess Cupcakes (a Gigi fave), we had guacamole, we ordered pizza (did they deliver to the beach?) and we had some beers as soon as the lifeguards went off duty. Lola had made her Mom’s cake too (white cake with a home made frosting made with Hershey’s Cocoa, Sugar and Milk – a Gigi birthday staple) and we all sang happy birthday to the lady we all loved. Gigi would have loved it all.
Today was also National Ice Cream Pie Day too and we still had to celebrate that. I know what you’re thinking – you said you already ate Hostess Cupcakes and Birthday Cake – but please don’t judge. It’s part of the sacrifice of this quest. We got home around 8:30 and took a couple of quick showers. I had made the pie on the day before because it needed to freeze and set. I got the recipe from my official holiday guide (National Day Calendar) which was a Chocolate Crunch Ice Cream Pie. It has a crust made of chocolate covered Rice Krispies and is filled with Coffee Ice Cream. I spruced it up a little with some chocolate syrup and caramel sauce as a topping.
Before leaving the beach, we asked the Breslins if we could come by with our pie so they could be part of this celebration – they are always up for some fun. Sharing our celebration is part of this whole movement and we were excited to have their expert opinion on the matter. When we lived in New Hampshire, we were 45 minutes away from the Breslins, so we were lucky to have some special nights with them as the closest family members. Since the Breslins are now Rhode Island residents, we are just learning how nice it is to have them so close to us. We missed them and to be able to drop in on them at 9:15 on a Thursday night is one of the fun things about having them close. Granted there were signs that we were pushing our luck. Becky and Molly were wrapped in blankets and may have had their eyes closed at times, but Sam and Jeff seemed to be wide awake, so we pushed through.
The pie was pretty good. I was a big fan of the crust which had great crunch and flavor. The consensus was that it was a top notch pie, but could have used some other flavors to make it that much better. Jeff was keen on the idea of peanut butter but admittedly he thinks peanut butter makes anything better. Sam thought some marshmallow would have done us right and Lola suggested making the crust a Rice Krispie Treat. All in all, a success and we were glad to share our little celebration with our new neighbors. It was a great way to end a day of celebration – on their deck beneath a moonlit sky with a cool summer breeze in the air all toasting the joy of this day. We are looking forward to more celebrations with them.
Next Up: National Soft Ice Cream Day