Mama Deb (mamadeb) wrote,
Mama Deb

Every birthday is a celebration.

Every birthday is a celebration in general, but even more so for a person in their 80s and above. Last night, we celebrated my father-in-law's 87th birthday (it's actually this Friday but this is the only night we all had free.)

We went to Abigael's. This is a upscale kosher steakhouse in midtown, and it's become our go-to place for family celebrations like this - excellent food, good, attentive service and the place is quiet enough that elderly people with bad hearing can communicate.

It still wasn't easy for Dad, since people speak too fast and his short-term memory is not good anymore and he needs reassurance from official sources for things. Example - there was a bottle of wine on the tables, which we were free to ignore, but they were offering that wine at a special rate, and we decided to get it opened for us. Dad had to have the waiter assure him that the Pinotage was dry, even though we all told him it was a Pinot Noir blend, and that Jonathan and I had had it. And then we had to assure him that the waiter was getting glasses as well as the cork screw.

However. I sat facing my mother-in-law, with Dad next to me, and Jonathan across from him, next to Mom. So we spent the meal talking just across the table. It was less confusing for Dad that way, and Mom is fun to talk to.

We started with sharing a salad and the smoked chili appetizer - which went beautifully with the wine. Really yummy. And we had four different entrees, for a change. Mom discovered that the planked salmon came with puree'd "fauxtatoes" - mashed cauliflower, and was thrilled death; I had a chicken duet (confit plus pan-roasted) with garlic mashed potatoes. They said truffle, but all I tasted was garlic. Tasted lovely. :) Dad had hanger steak, done rare to his tastes. Jonathan had a chicken roulade, but the stuffing (supposedly wild mushrooms and sausage) was too bready for him. And Dad finished the last bit of my chicken because I was full.

None of us had dessert, even though we tried to persuade Dad to get something. Instead we had coffee and espressos. BUT. The waiter knew that it was Dad's birthday, so he brought over a cocktail glass filled with pareve whipped cream topped with a sparkler - unasked. It was really nice. And we stayed as long as we wanted and both couples caught a cab home.

Dad's mind is as sharp as ever, but, as I said, his short-term memory isn't - he's had a series of traumas in the past year that has caused some impairment - undiagnosed congestive heart failure, the accident last August, plus he'd been throwing off blood clots. That last is under control, now, and he's being watched carefully. And he no longer drives. Also, his profound hearing loss makes it difficult for him to participate in conversation. And every year we still have him with us and himself is a blessing and worthy of a celebration. God willing, we'll have many more of those.

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