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Monday, July 9, 2012

I Love NE MPLS; or, Party On Kathy’s Deck!


It’s Saturday night, a warm summer night, and a light breeze has the leaves dancing.  The temperature has dropped dramatically since the 102 degrees reached just yesterday, and the keg of Lonely Blonde on the corner of the deck sits in an iced garbage can swathed in a quilted blue blanket, perfectly cold. 

Kathy has turned 40, and her backyard is full of people, beer, plates of food, cigarettes, coolers, and bug spray.

Her kitchen is full of food.

It’s got to be, what?, 11:00, 11:30?, and while the dining room table is fully occupied and the kitchen houses a half-dozen people circling the cocktail wienies, the majority of the party is outside on the deck, a dozen or so chairs making the leap on to the lawn.  Groups arrange themselves in large, looping circles, expanding and shifting as people speak/shout/laugh with those next to and across from them. 

We’ve been talking about our favorite ages.  I have just declined reliving any particular age, citing how difficult it was the first time around, but Vin is fondly recalling his early 30s.

“ – and so I’m running cars in and out of London.  Got a lad out of Frankfurt – great German bloke, masses of curls framing a massive square head.  Eric, his name was,” Vin takes a drag off his cigarette. “Eric.”

I nod appreciatively.

“He says to me, he says come on over, I’ve got three cars for you.  I take the –“  and here Vin speaks of Ipswich and Callais and I am lost until he arrives in Frankfurt.

Eric picks him up at the station.

“And right away, everything goes sideways,” Vin says.  “Eric thinks I’m going to give him this great envelope of money before I get the papers for the cars, and yet it seems there’s been a bit of trouble.  You see, I have to have these papers in order to sell them, and yet the possibility has arisen that these cars won’t pass inspection, won’t qualify.”  Vin leans back in his chair.  “I tell him, Eric, you get those papers, I’ll give you the money.  It won’t be happening the other way ‘round.”

I nod.  I am picturing myself in Frankfurt, picture pine trees and sidewalks without knowing anything about the city.

“So he finally agrees, he’ll take care of everything.  He puts me up in a hotel – nice place, it was – and says, I’m going to take care of it.  I’ll be right back.”  Vin grins, takes a drag of his cigarette.  “Two days he’s gone!  Two days!  I’ll be right back, he says.”  He shakes his head.

“Well what did you do?”

Vinnie shrugs.  “What can you do in Frankfurt?  I got bloody drunk, didn’t I?” 

“That’s awesome.”  James has been leaning forward, his elbows on his knees, listening intently. “Seriously, that’s awesome.  That’s when you’re really living, right?  When you don’t know where life is going next.”

Vin stands up, takes a drag from his cigarette.  “Well it’s all awesome, isn’t it?”   He holds up his empty cup, heads toward the keg.  “There’s no telling what might happen next.”

28 comments:

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

What's next is probably a hang over. Awesome!!

Teresa Evangeline said...

I absolutely Love this post. I can so picture nordeast and, yes, it's all awesome, especially because we don't know what's going to happen next.

Your writing style is sooo fine. You know how to tell a story.

Leenie said...

I like how you can take us there so we can enjoy the whole thing without the sticky pits and the headache the next day.

vanilla said...

"The Zen of Vin." It's all awesome; there's no telling what might happen next. Fantastic outlook! And yet, with you, Pearl, any one age was too smashing difficult to want to repeat it.

Pearl said...

Delores, for once, I didn't, either. :-)

Teresa, that's very nice. Nordeast Mpls is a special neighborhood (full of special folk!) and we all love it. What better way to enjoy the fleeting season that is summer in Minnesota than to sit outside with friends until the wee hours?

Leenie, it also means I got to eat your portion of the taco dip. :-)

vanilla, ahh, but it's true. I've been sent here to have my heart repeatedly broken...

Sparkle Farkle said...

You know, I'm beginning to think that--no, I'm going to come right out and say it: ever since I first starting reading you, I thought, this lady deserves her own TV sitcom! Today's entry confirms it! I dunno, who do we call?

R. Jacob said...

today is a day of reading blogs and waiting for the house to stop spinning in the air. I have to hold on to something...

Eva Gallant said...

for some reason, I'm having my doubts that this car sale was ever completed....

terlee said...

There's just nothing like a good Summer party...and a reminder that it's all awesome.

Pearl said...

Sparkle, you delightful little thing you. :-)

R., spinning? Hang on! Hang on!!

Eva, actually, I believe it was. Got the VAT forms -- is that right? a European certification of soundness or something -- and moved on to moving cars out of Italy...

terlee, there is much awesomeness all around us, most of it quite clearly recognizable while at a summer party...

Ms Sparrow said...

That's the wonderful kind of story you only hear when folks are having a late-night party. There's a special sort of philosophical truth to be found in that situation.

NotesFromAbroad said...

Will you tell me these stories every night before I go to sleep ?
love

Mom of A and a said...

It IS all awesome!!

L-Kat said...

I'm so excited! I have two trips to Minneapolis planned for August. I can't believe it's already July and I haven't made it there once. My friends and family are not very happy with me.

jenny_o said...

The more timid among us are somewhat more inclined to say, "it's all scary" :)

Lynn said...

It's all awesome. It is.

Dawn @Lighten Up! said...

You had me at "circling the cocktail weenies," then you killed me with " Well, it's all awesome, isn't it?"
Once again you have improved my sh!tty week, made me laugh by myself like an idiot and go "HA! Pearl!"
People are always staring at me because of you. Haha :)

Gigi said...

"It's all awesome." Thank you. I needed that today.

Indigo Roth said...

Hey Pearl!

“Well it’s all awesome, isn’t it? There’s no telling what might happen next.”

I couldn't agree more.

Indigo x

River said...

I love the way you use words.
I can't stop picturing the "masses of curls on a massive square head". Like SpongeBob Squarepants with a perm.

Shelly said...

Coming to you late from Florida today. You notherners know how to have fun!

Stephen Hayes said...

Did you ever lay your eyes on the cars? Somehow I doubt it.

HermanTurnip said...

That, my friend, is a man of the world. I raise my glass to him!

Mitchell is Moving said...

Like you, I couldn't possibly relive any particular age... even the "awesome" ones when I didn't know where life was going next so I got drunk in Frankfurt.

the walking man said...

I'd live the entire 58 years over again and not do anything different even if I knew where my choices would leave me. It has all been so damn real for me, and fun. Yes Ma'am I do it al over again.

Linda O'Connell said...

Why don't you write a sit com based on the people you know? You are so entertaining.

esbboston said...

I don't have to be mean today, but I in the process of putting up tow away zone our parking only signs so that my renters can be mean. Does that make me indirectly mean?

Pat Tillett said...

That was great. In my mind's eye, or ear, I can hear Vin pontificating. I wouldn't know whether to be amazed at what he says, or to tell him he's full of crap. Either way, the story is GREAT! Your writing and stories are so good!