Its YOUR Birthday Hutch! Welcome to the sixties! It’s tempting to poke fun at your age, but considering that you just caught up with me, I shall refrain. In fact, to the contrary, your buddy and I would like to dedicate this day to celebrating YOU … and … all the ways our lives have been richer because you moseyed on over to our place almost 20 years ago! You might want to get comfortable, because I’m about to get long-winded. Hey! I can hear your thought wheels turning! No wise cracks from the birthday boy! In all seriousness, your buddy and I have so very much to thank you for Hutch that I’m not even sure where to begin!
First, and foremost, because of you Hutch … we found life long friends! Not just the kind of friends that you visit with because you are neighbors. But rather, the kind of friends that hold a very special place in our hearts. The kind of friends that you can count on … to be there … through thick and thin. The kind of friends who take an interest in your children and your grandchildren … and … your cat. The kind of friends that you look forward to seeing because it’s always so nourishing and comfortable to be in their presence. The kind of friends that accept you fully … so that there is no need to edit oneself! The kind of friends who you can kibitz around with … and … enjoy some really big belly laughs! The kind of friends who you can share smiles with as you clink glasses to celebrate the joys in life … and … who extend both hand and heart through the inevitable challenges. The kind of friends that you rap on the door once and then just walk in because you know you are always welcome. The kind of friends that are incredibly rare and very precious! Yes … because of you Hutch, we have THOSE kind of friends! Yep. You guys are a rare gift to us … and … because you wandered our way, we have enjoyed so many magical, meaningful moments together!
Yes. THAT is what you started Hutch … when you moved into 46A Street and moseyed across the cul-de-sac with a couple of brewskies to see what my hubby was up to in the garage. And since that time, you boys have spent considerable time in our garage.
Yep … your buddy (aka my hubby) has been refurbishing and restoring his ‘other’ love for the past 20+ years. So … he spends a fair bit of time in the garage with his 1968 Firebird … which he affectionately calls his ’68 chick’. I, on the other hand, being 10 years older than his flashy red muscle car … hold the respected position of being his ’58 chick’. I know … I know … I know what you are thinking Hutch … but this is no time to discuss the fact that I, too, could benefit from a little refurbishing! THIS blog is about YOU! Yes. So, let’s just leave it at that, okay? I hope you are nodding your head. 🙂
Because of you Hutch … we have enjoyed more succulent, scrumptious Sunday suppers than we ever could have imagined! It’s been no less than a dietary blessing that you’ve kept renewing your subscription to Canadian Living! We have certainly reaped the rewards of you thumbing through the pages of that palate pleasing publication. Yep. Your culinary skills are hard to beat Hutch! Right now my memory banks are flooded with recollections of barbeques and fondues and salads and prawns the size of my fist and appy buffets and crab cakes and chicken and ribs and tacos and kabobs … and oh … even breakfast! I’ll never forget the year that John was away and you even cooked up a birthday breakfast buffet for me! I think my beautiful bestie was your talented and terrific sous chef that day! Thank you again for doing that!
And, because of you … we have also enjoyed exploring some incredibly delicious drinks and creative cocktails! As you know … I’m not much of a drinker … well … unless of course, there happens to be a nice Malbec or Cabernet Sauvignon or Chianti or Merlot or Syrah or Tempranillo or Grenache or even a nice red blend … like Bodacious. Mmmm. Mmmm. Mmmm. Aside from that … I’ve always had a pretty picky palate when it comes to alcoholic beverages!
But … you sir … invited my taste buds to some unexpected places!! How about the Halloween when you spooked up your house with fuzzy spiders and other ghostly décor and invited us over for ghoulish drinks and some ghastly looking appys … !
And while those eyeball martinis were not a flavour favorite for me … sometime later … you did win me over with your seafood Ceasars! I wasn’t sure I’d like the texture of the scallops – but you sautéed them to perfection. Yep. Nothing short of extraordinary! Just look at all that delectable and spicy goodness!! Deelish! And so exquisitely presented too!!!
Yes, and I owe you big for nudging me even further out of my fermented grapes comfort zone while we were in San Antonio. It was so unbearably hot … and let’s face it … red wine is just not compatible with that kind of heat. No. Just not satisfying at all. BUT those margaritas that you introduced me to were SO refreshing! Especially when we got them ‘to go’ on the water taxi! And, it was soooo darn
thoughtful mischievous of you to ‘cool’ me off between the shoulder blades with your icy cold cup! But, then again, I should have known better! I’ve learned it’s always wise to keep an eye on you! 🙂
Yep, were it not for you, I never would have developed an appreciation for the divine deliciousness of Tequila! But not just any tequila. No, no, no! Remember the one we were sipping on at one of the local pubs while the four of us were playing Hangman on my tablet. Although I believe the Lanser duo won the game that time, the tequila was sure no winner on that occasion. I think I left my margarita on the table. Or maybe someone else drank it. I can’t quite remember … but … because of you, I have learned I’m a top shelf girl. And no worms. I make no apologies for being a bit uppity like that.
And, I’m not sure if we have sufficiently thanked you and my bestie (aka the “Margarita Queen”) for subsequently purchasing one of those Margaritaville Machines! Because of that wise investment, we need only make the long arduous trek across the cul-de-sac to savor an icy, frosted and salted margarita on the hottest days in our neighborhood!
OR … we now have the option to just take the makings for marvelous margaritas with us when we travel. Of course we’d only do so as a purely preventative measure. In case it gets hot. For example … it was a darn good thing we had it when we spent the night in the roaring metropolis of Pincher Creek! Nothing like a little slushy goodness to pick up the pace and perk up the spirits at a Ramada Inn located in the middle of nowhere! A much better option than watersliding! Clearly … 🙂
We ended up staying in that remote rural locale because your wife and I were running in the Buffalo Runners 10km race … across the scorching hot prairies. And, lucky for us, you fine fellas came along to support us. It made it even more fun. Although, in this picture … your buddy looks like he was up to something sneaky, doesn’t he??
That said, this seems the perfect time to acknowledge you Hutch for all the ways you have supported your wife over the years. You’ve been there to clap and cheer her on … whether she is running a race, or getting an academic degree or hiking a mountain or making her own makeshift Camino by walking 100km along the side of the highway right here in Alberta! Yes. We honor and admire you so much for being that kind of guy!
And, because of you Hutch … we have enjoyed some great trips together! In fact, were it not for you, John and I would never have ventured to San Antonio, Texas! And were it not for you … I’m not sure how long we would have loitered in the airport trying to locate our luggage. Remember the shocked looks on our faces when we discovered our connecting flight in Denver had been cancelled!! Gah! And so, in order to get us to San Antonio … our luggage had to take a different plane … arriving at a different time! We’d never before heard of Frontier Airlines … but somehow you figured out where to look … and the lost was found! And remember our fun evening at the Howl at the Moon Saloon! Those dueling pianos were fabulous!
In addition to San Antonio, we’ve shared some great times in Waterton Lakes National Park! I’ll never forget getting drenched in an unexpected downpour while kayaking on the previously peaceful and placid Cameron Lake.
And then there was the Opera in Calgary! If memory serves me correctly, we had to turn back in the middle of a snow storm on our first attempt to experience such a fancy and cultured night of entertainment. And, when we eventually claimed our rain check, it seemed like John and Marie enjoyed the arias, but alas … didn’t you and I prefer a little less polish? I think we preferred listening to the live band at the Irish Pub afterwards.
And we had a great time in Kimberley … we even took a tour of the …. uhm … I don’t remember what it was called. Something about mining and trains, right?? There is no shortage of adventures to behold when we are travelling together! It was really very fascinating! And … it’s important to do what interests you boys too … at least on rare occasion … right?
Speaking of more ‘manly’ adventures … John just reminded me of the time you guys took the ’68 chick for it’s maiden voyage … after the main body work was completed … only to have the lug nuts come off of the rims … while you were cruising down the highway! I think you should know he’s blaming you for that whole debacle … saying that somehow you must have “jinxed” it. Uhm … okay. And, I bet it was ‘your’ fault, too, when you boys barely limped home after golfing in Cardston and the old girl was only running on seven cylinders. Gah. Yeah … I’ve had plenty of wild rides in that ’68 chick myself! I remember running out of gas … ‘cuz apparently the fuel tank was not connected properly and it only appeared that we had a full tank. Yep. She’s always full of surprises. Nonetheless, your buddy sure loves her! 🙂
Where to next, Hutch? Nashville maybe?? How good do you think we would be at karaoke? Or … maybe we can just listen to the famous country crooners? And, if its hot, we could probably find some top shelf margaritas? If not, I bet they have a lovely red wine. Or beer? Not that beer appeals to me … but the three of you could enjoy a nice tall cool one while we soak up some sad, ‘she stole my heart and wrecked my car’ country ballads. It might not be Roy Orbison or Jerry Lee Lewis … but … I bet they’d get our toes tapping! Or maybe, in the midst of all that talent, we’d cut a rug and do some two stepping! You just never know. I’m up for another adventure somewhere… but, let’s not take the firechicken.
Speaking of great talent … well … because of you Hutch, I have been humbled at cards. I must publicly concede that you are very savvy and skilled when it comes to playing Hearts. It’s true. In fact, more often than not, you are entirely heartless! Pun intended!! And, because you are so dang good at the game, it’s no wonder I have to gloat … incessantly and most obnoxiously … whenever I beat you.
Scores like those just never get old for me. Look … even way back in 2015 … I took you down … a few times. I sure had fun!! And … you’re always a good sport about it! Yep. You take it so well.
I guess its a good thing you have other fingers to fall back on when you are in a card slump. Your thumb, for example. There is no denying that you have the greenest of green thumbs! Your yard and garden are always so impeccably tended. And … because of you … we get to enjoy the finest fruits of your labor! I’ll never forget the first time you wandered over in your bare feet … toting a beautiful bouquet of handpicked flowers. My hubby razzed you … speculating “what will the neighbors think?” about you bringing your buddy’s bride some flowers! But, it never concerned you … it’s just your nature to generously gift the goodness and grace of your gorgeous garden! Thank you so much for my annual bouquets!
And, speaking of annual joys … there is nothing quite like transforming some of your vegetable harvest into our annual borscht making extravaganza! We started off making one mega pot full. Now we do four at a time … yielding oodles of containers for our freezers!
The chopping and cutting is always more fun when we do it together … and then while its cooking … we get to play some cards. Oooops. Sorry Hutch. Didn’t mean to bring up that sore spot again! I know it’s been a bit of dry spell, but I bet you’ll win again …………… sometime. Really. Don’t let yourself lose
at hearts heart. LOL. Oh dear … I sense I’m getting obnoxious again, aren’t I??
Okay. Maybe we best get back to discussing your skills in the garden! I mean … how does your garden grow? Prolifically! Sheesh … just look at those gargantuan carrots!!
And, this picture so fondly reminds me of times when our kids and grandkids have been home during the summer months. And, you will wander over with handfuls of fresh dug carrots for our grandchildren. And sometimes you’ll take the kids back over to your house so they can dig them up themselves. And wasn’t it because of a trip to your garden that Trad discovered carrots grew in the ground before they ended up on the grocery store shelves?
Yes, your generous love for children has always been so apparent … even long before you became a grandpa yourself! You’d thoughtfully deliver your enormous metal Tonka “diggers” and/or simply play with our grandkids and/or have merciless water fights with them and/or tease them in the most affectionate way! It was so cute how you and Luka developed such a special bond when he was a toddler. He’d often arrive at our house and the first thing he’d say was “Where’s John?” Yep. You stole his heart. And so, because of you Hutch … my grandchildren have always had way more fun when they come to visit!
Our grandkids have always felt so welcomed to exist in your presence. You have such a meaningful way of making them feel significant and special. In fact, they have been known to arrive at your door to visit … without us knowing … and with no invitation from you … and with no sense that they might have been overstaying their welcome! Thank you for sending them back to tell us when they are going to be playing at your house! 🙂
In fact, you have cultivated such a wonderful relationship with all of our family members. Even with my in-laws … when they were still alive. I found this great picture of you and Opa sharing a chuckle … during one of our pig roasts, I think. Thank you Hutch for holding such a caring and compassionate and supportive place for all of our family. It means the world to us … and … we know how much they always enjoy time shared with you.
And most certainly, this tribute to you and for you would not be complete without acknowledging and honoring the precious relationship you also embraced with my beautiful Skruffi! There was no doubting how much she adored you. You’d barely get in the door and she’d insist upon getting up onto your lap. Yes. And, because of you … we were able to enjoy some extensive travels, secure in the knowledge that you’d be making sure my beloved kitty never got too lonely. Thank you for leaving the comforts of your own home and coming over to watch TV with our kitty … not just once … but every time we went on vacation!! Yes. Skruffi always had a soft spot for you too Hutch! Well … actually, I think the feelings were mutual … ❤
And … I’m not even going to hold it against you that you also stole our other cat’s heart – so much so that she left us and literally moved in with you. Yes, its true. Because of you … Dharma (aka Dharmee) had a better life at your house than she ever would have had at mine. May both their precious spirits rest in the sweet peace of knowing how much they were loved.
And, I have yet to mention what an exceptional father and grandfather (aka: “Papa”) you are. It is nothing short of sublime to bear witness to the joy in your eyes and the full swell of your heart as you interact with your sweet little grand-daughter. I’m guessing their aren’t too many “papas” who are as tight with their grandbaby as you are Hutch. It is completely unarguable … your sweet little Miss Aubree adores YOU! Once again, its obvious that the feelings are mutual.
And look at you breaking out those moves Hutch!! 🙂 Yes … there is no denying you are such a gift to your entire family. You’ve created a family of deep value Hutch … which … you clearly value so deeply. It is a joy to spend time with all of you!
Okay … I’m not done yet! This tribute would not be complete without acknowledging that, because of you … New Years Eve is always such a great time … with a bevy of appetizers and some cards and, of course, the five questions. And … although the five questions are not your favorite part … we’ve been known to surprise ourselves, year after year, by staying up way too late … with frost in our hair from hot-tubbing in sub-zero temperatures – ringing in the New Year with loads of laughs and countless chuckles … and … a wee bit of bubbly. Oh … and angel making! Well … one of us remains without halo … but I won’t mention any names!
Oh … and that reminds me … thank you for choosing your wife. I love her too! Yes. Good thinking Hutch! I think we are both so much better because you chose her! ❤ ❤
We are so grateful for the happy hours we get to spend with you two … relaxing around the fire pit in the summer … and … cozied up in front of your fireplace in the winter. Yes. Those times always make us happy! And, for some reason as I say that, I am reminded of the time we ended up making paper airplanes … complete with a small competition for whose would fly the furthest! I remember you had a special plan … for a bomber … that bombed. BUT … when it was all said and done, I think your aircraft emerged victorious! Yes. There were a lot of noses bent out of shape during those shenanigans … but only the paper planes!
And so … I have only highlighted a smattering of all the ways in which our lives are better because of you Hutch. And, we eagerly anticipate many more moments to come that will be infinitely better because of you. And … as you join John and I in the sixth decade of your life … we hope that your days are filled with multitudes of moments that are magical and meaningful and magnificent and memorable! We want to wish you all the very best that an old guy can manage … and … I, for one, might even be happy for you to win a game or two of Hearts.
But maybe not tonight … 😉
We look forward to seeing you later Hutch! Your buddy is cooking … and … Marie and I will be there to supervise his efforts! May the quantity of our celebration and the quality of the cuisine be fit for a queen! Maybe the queen of spades!?! Sheesh … I just can’t stop myself! 🙂
What I meant to say is this:
May this day and all the days hereafter be fitting for a birthday boy of your calm .. caring .. considerate .. compassionate .. capable .. clever .. candid .. confident .. creative .. conscientious .. comical .. captivating and charismatic calibre!!
Happy, happy, happy SIX ZERO … from your buddy and his ’58 chick! We raise our glasses to you … with the utmost appreciation and reverent regard for all the ways our lives are better because of you!
With 60 Cheers and much love … ❤ John and Karen ❤
P.S. A post birthday celebration UPDATE: We enjoyed a fabulous paella … Hutch’s favorite cheesecake … and … two rounds of hearts! And low and behold … it went both ways! And, I shall say no more about it! 🙂