It isn't a big news flash that today is my birthday.
People have them all of the time. But it is a milestone birthday, so, at least to me, it's a semi-big deal.
My Florida friends Bob and Meg, who have a condo, a lot and investment property in Greenville, were on the schedule to be here this weekend. They come up four or five times a year. I didn't have the sense that their trip was related to my birthday. I was wrong.
During my last trip to Florida, plans were hatched for my school teacher/PhD candidate/bartender buddy Natalie to host a cookout for me this afternoon. I didn't realize at the time that the cookout was a place holder to keep me in Greenville this weekend. Several out-of-town friends already had plane tickets to fly in to help me celebrate. I was making noises about taking a trip somewhere to celebrate. Natalie threw herself on the grenade to hold me here. Not only did she shoulder the burden of having a party for me, she gave up a bartending shift as well. That's a lot of investment for just a ploy to keep me in town.
Because many of these folks are from Florida, the hurricane nearly put the kibosh on the weekend.
I had plans to meet Bob and Meg at the Blue Ridge Brewery downtown on Friday evening. I had just joined them at an outside table and ordered a Sacred Cow brown ale in my "ugly mug" when several other out-of-towners came trooping out of the restaurant to surprise me.
It has been nonstop partying ever since.
Friday evening was spent at the Nose Dive and Soby's. My head was spinning -- not so much from the wine, but from the realization that so many people had given up a weekend at home and spent the money to come see me.
Do I deserve such friends? Probably not, but I refused to dwell on it; I threw myself into the celebration.
Saturday was a 12-hour pub crawl around downtown Greenville. I like it when friends are in town because it gives me the opportunity to go places I otherwise wouldn't visit. I have my haunts that I regularly visit and there are only so many days in the week. I go to those same places because I know the staff and they take care of me. Why go to a joint by myself where I don't know anyone?
Pub crawls with out-of-town friends are the perfect opportunity to forge into uncharted waters. I made my first appearance ever at "On the Roxx." I made my second visit ever to "Fords" and "Chicora Alley." Actually we hit Fords twice because the bartender was so top-notch.
Most of the out of towners are already heading for home. Other than Bob and Meg (who are as much locals as out of towners), today will be devoted to celebrating with the locals.
I am supposed to go to Soby's this morning for brunch. I don't know if I will make that. My brunch buddy has already canceled. She partied with us last night and is coming to the cookout this afternoon. She asked for some recovery time, and being the kind-hearted, generous soul that I am, I let her off the hook for brunch. I may go anyway.
Even a birthday boy has to eat!