I have to tell you, I’ve been a crazy kind of lucky in my lifetime – I’ve got parents who are still nuts about each other, and in turn, their children; I’ve got this great mass of an extended family, all of whom have to act like they like me whether they do or not, and all of whom know how to create a delicious dish and bring it around to a family potluck; and I have great friends, some from my childhood who are still as important to me as the air I breathe, and many from my adulthood, all of them giving me important feedback and some love and lots of care. . .making my life the thing that it is. And my kids, did I mention my kids? Yes, my cup truly runneth over.
I’m pretty good at remembering this great fortune – I try to go over at least ten fabulous things about my life every morning before I crawl out of bed. It’s a habit I learned from an attorney I worked with, a girl who had MS and was finding the getting out of bed more and more difficult every day. It works when you remember to do it.
My Quay County friend Bethe is one of those life treasures – someone I idolized as a child (yes, she was beautiful in her own very fresh, wide-and-perfect-teeth-bright-smiled, freckled, strawberry-blonde way, and full of positive energy even in 1974, and the best friend of my cousin Cindy, and had so many marriage proposals early in life that she made all those promise rings into a horseshoe diamond ring. . .) who eventually became my adult friend.
People used to think we were cousins because we had the same last name, but we weren’t kin. That didn’t stop the boys from approaching me at a dance, acting like they were interested in me only so that I could introduce them to Bethe. I probably should have resented her. . .
So now we are friends, and a couple of weeks ago Bethe had her birthday celebration at home, the perfect New Mexico girls weekend complete with two stacked-high triple layer birthday cakes (one shaped like a horseshoe, of course. . ), some wine and lots of conversation in her soaring ceilinged living room before a massive fireplace with a roaring fire, coffee in the kitchen in the early morning, and then on Saturday night a traditional Italian meal cooked by Bethe’s friend, Ralph Servidio. If you’re going to have friends, it’s always nice when one of them is an accomplished chef.
I met four new female friends that weekend, funny, accomplished professional women who were all pleased with how life had treated them. And of course Cindy was there, my first cousin with whom I share an entire history of Grandma Ayres dinners and Santa Claus Christmases.
Here’s what we should all get on our birthdays – great friends gathered around a table toasting us, and several men serving the meal (most especially Ralph’s friend, George, who served the salad as though it was his greatest privilege) prepared by someone who really knows how to cook. We had, I kid you not, the best spaghetti sauce I’ve ever eaten in my life, ladled over your choice of spaghetti or mushroom/cheese ravioli (of course I had both). And then cake. Lots of cake. Lemon buttercream frosting homemade cake.
When I heard that Ralph is opening a restaurant in Hobbs (Babe’s Sports Page Bar & Grill, 5024 N. Lovington Highway, www.babessportspage.com across the road from the casino), I decided he had to get a plug here. If his restaurant food is like Bethe’s birthday meal, Babe’s will be unlike anything southeastern New Mexico has ever seen. You can even follow them on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Babes-Sports-Page/175350525815133?v=wall#!/album.php?aid=56633&id=175350525815133.
Word is that they’ll be opening sometime early in February. My suggestion is that you keep checking their website so that you can get in early and often once they’re open. Ralph and his wife Debbie (and the great friend George) moved to Hobbs from California via Las Vegas – they seem to have great faith in what’s happening with the economy there. And with food like the dinner he created for us, they should be very successful.
So that’s my recommendation today. Remind yourself how lucky you are every day. Surround yourself with good friends. Create a birthday celebration that’s worthy of you. Eat great food. And treat yourself to a meal at Babe’s in Hobbs sometime soon. Life’s too short not to eat amazing meals. . .