With one quick swoop, less than the blink of an eye, Vernon turns 31. The big three-oh passed with little fanfare last year, not that I detested nor was bothered with getting old, but simply found it unnecessary to celebrate. It’s not like I am still some 13-year old pimpled geek needing a party. I mean, I may act like a 13-year old with occasional pimpled cheeks due to lack of sleep sometimes, but heck, no parties needed, peeps.
This year, however, is different. Why? Mom said so. Just as my beloved dad threw a party for his 61st in February, mom was adamant that thirty one, just as sixty one, was important, especially for the Chinese. It is a milestone, come to think of it. I’ve been around for 3 decades. No kidding. One third of my happy life, gone. In a snap.
So I thought, what the heck? Let’s do it! Let’s celebrate. Invite my friends, closest friends, ex-girlfriends, future girlfriends, acquaintances, family and colleagues. Mom and dad would organise the whole thing, as they usually do at most parties held at their spacious home; and fabulous cook Aunt Tina would conjure some worldly dishes to satisfy the palates of some 40-odd persons attending.
I sent out a customised invitation via web and email to my contact list. Those without known email addresses were notified by SMS.
Come the actual day, being Saturday, 5th March 2005, I lugged some extra crates of drinks, beer and whiskey to my parent’s, a couple of hours early. Helped dad set up the tables, chairs and what naught. Mom busied herself in the kitchen, cooking several dishes. I picked up the main dishes from Aunt Tina. Smelled seriously good!
My brother’s girlfriend Joanna came over early with the birthday cake. Really sweet of her. Ee Mei and Joanne, ex-primary school classmates, believe it or not, arrived on the dot at 7.30pm. Thunder roared, literally, as it threatened to rain. Jokingly I blamed the two early-birds for bringing the rain.
Sure enough it started to drizzle. Great. Gee thanks, God. I know you’re laughing up there. And I know you have a sense of humour, but it’s my birthday for chrissakes! Gimme a break! Thankfully, the Almighty One decided that the joke had expired and stopped the rain about an hour later.
Guests trickled in, and by 8.00pm, the garden was packed. It was quite a sight to behold. In one corner, my ex-primary schoolmates, all seven of them. In another, some three quarters of my office. In another, ex-colleagues. Then there were ex-college mates, and family, and close friends. It was amazing. It felt more like a reunion, more so than a birthday celebration. A congregation of people, from all stages of my life – from primary school to secondary, to college then to working years.
I had a hard time attempting to divide my attention across all different parties. The juggling was exhausting, but fun nonetheless. Wine was poured, food and drink was consumed. Voices roared with conversation and laughter. The place was full of life. Some commented that the house looked more like a restaurant than anything else. The ambience perfect.
A gambling session (a tribute to abundance, I always say) was introduced but didn’t ensue for long. Seemed people around me were less of a gambler than even I was 😀 Perhaps they have lost too much money during Chinese New Year? Heh.
The highlight of the evening was the presents opening session. I really felt like a kid again. Hah. Seriously speaking, I had a truckload of presents. I didn’t expect them, really. Presents were always optional, as I think people’s presence took precedence over any material exchange.
The gifts were diverse. I sure received a lot of alcohol! I’ve got enough supply to last me a year. Hehehe. I loved the CDs I got, the Crumpler notebook bag, the Logitech mouse, the photo frames, the t-shirts. All wonderful and thoughtful gifts.
I couldn’t have asked for more. The presence of my family and friends. The presents. The good food and ambience. Sigh. ‘Twas great, people. I cannot thank all who showed up enough, and many special thanks to momsy and pops for organising everything.
Here’s a toast to friendship, love and life! Cheerios!