The birthday cake
The birthday cake

Last Saturday, we celebrated Clif’s 60th birthday with food, family, and friends—the three essentials. Clif had decided he wanted a chili party—chili being one of his favorite dishes—and as I’ve mentioned in an earlier post, the past two weeks have been a flurry of cooking and cleaning. Clif took off the Friday before the party, and it was a bit of a hobbit’s birthday for him as he helped with various chores, including making the chili. Clif didn’t mind one bit, and I was reminded of the line in the lovely prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi: For it is in giving that we receive.

The day of the party was gray and wet, but inside all was cozy and warm. Appetizers and salad were set on the round table in the dining room, and in the kitchen were three kinds of chili, which guests could serve themselves. For appetizers we had homemade crackers with an olive and rosemary cream cheese dip; hummus with carrots and cucumbers; chips and salsa; slices of smoked cheddar; and courtesy of Kate Johnson, fresh homemade baguettes with a walnut, sun-dried tomato pesto, also homemade and incredibly good. John Clark brought homemade bread from a farmers’ market, and I made cornbread. My salad was extremely simple—leaf lettuce, snipped very small (Thanks, Dawna, for this idea!), with roasted beets, crumbled feta, toasted almonds, and a homemade vinaigrette. By the end of the party, the salad was pretty much gone, and this is the first time this has happened with a salad at one of my parties. I guess it’s a make-again salad.

In fact, I am happy to report that we had lots of good eaters on Saturday, and while there were leftovers, there really weren’t that many. Nothing makes this hostess happier than seeing guests eat with gusto, and they certainly did at this party.

We all gathered in the living room for cake and presents, and Clif gave a fine little speech about how as we move through our lives, we begin and end with friends and family. He also spoke of the importance of having interests and that some people, as they age, are at a loss as to how to fill their days. Clif expressed gratitude for having family, friends, and interests, and around the room, there was much nodding of heads.

Speaking of interests…biking is one of ours, and over the summer we have biked nearly every day, weather permitting. We decided that this week, in honor of Clif’s birthday, we would ride at least 60 miles. (Clif is taking several days off, a sort of mini-vacation.)

Yesterday, we went on a 13-mile ride, and today, on Clif’s actual birthday, we plan on riding around Maranacook Lake, from Winthrop to Readfield, which is about 17 miles. That will make 30 miles, with 30 more miles to go.

What a great way to celebrate a 6oth birthday!

Happy birthday, Clif!

Make a wish, Clif!
Make a wish, Clif!






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