Food, Wines & Friends Page 280
A SURPRISE PARTY FOR "THE HIPPIES"
a Friday during the Summer of 2015, a throng of friends and relatives gathered
in Burlingame at a special venue in hopes of surprising two dear friends,
Leslie and John Mcquaide.
Their daughter Hilary had been planning this for a few months, asking people to
"save the date" as she was working on a great surprise for her
I've known Leslie since the 1970s and John came into the picture when the couple
met at the annual fund-raiser for the local public television station, KQED.
John was a San Francisco boy, but soon came to appreciate Burlingame, as you
could find a parking space here if you looked.
Soon the couple got married. I was enlisted to be an official witness to
the marriage ceremony, performed at the San Mateo County government offices
complex in Redwood City. The wedding was kept secret, as the couple would
make the announcement at an annual St. Patrick's Day party.
Leslie figured John would not be able to forget their anniversary if they
celebrated it each year coinciding with John's Corned Beef & Cabbage Fest
every year on March 17th.
The other "Big Day" during the year was their birthday.
They were each born on the exact same date...
...in hospitals of the exact same name.
John arrived in San Francisco. Leslie made her appearance in Tennessee.
So, let's look at the headlines on roughly the day these two were conceived...
then 9 months later:
so everyone congregated at a little car museum near the Burlingame Avenue Train
around the venue, along with the old motor vehicles, were some vintage photos of
the birthday kids.
It should be explained why these two are called "The Hippies."
Leslie had a business of maintaining office plants...watering these...nursing
damaged ones back to life, etc.
John's business was...well, we know he was a landlord. And he'd help
Leslie with her plant-watering business.
Apart from that and volunteering at KQED, we knew of no "real"
job. So we figured these two were pretty much "Flower Children"
and so they were known to our circle of friends as simply "The
And a short time after the wedding, The Little Hippie joined the party.
And the Little Hippie grew up to be something of a Yuppie while her Ma & Pa
are still Hippies.
The catering crew was exceptional.
WEIR & ASSOCIATES
sounds like the name of a law firm, but these people are terrific!
Lois was her kid's age when we first met and she was funny around at The
Hippie's St. Patty's Parties, way back when.
Meanwhile, someone was watching the front door and we had a spy sitting on a
park bench by the train station as a "look-out" to alert us to the
arrival of the guests-of-honor.
not here yet!"
Holy #%@*! You are 70!
We had a nice array of party wines, each labeled with photos of The Hippies.
We saw the Guests of Honor motor by on their motorized skateboard and so was all
gathered at the entrance, making sure Dr. Arnie Spanjers was nearby in case
someone needed CPR.
And soon the door opened and Leslie ambled in...
...totally oblivious to the surprise.
John walked in a few seconds later, still not quite sure what was going on.
"Holy Shit! Wait a minute!!"
And soon The Organizer gave her D-O-D (Dear Old Dad) a big hug.
was still in a state of shock.
"Mom, I finally nailed you!"
Then John & Leslie
finally had a moment to survey the crowd...
There's an expression about "shitting a brick.."
couldn't believe his eyes...
Maybe she just learned we're celebrating The Hippie's Birthday?
Or perhaps she just learned they're "The Hippies"???
the wine and bubbles were flowing!
suggested the couple go for a walk around the block.
Given their elevated age and the lack of a memory when you're 70, perhaps they'd
come back into the building and actually be surprised again.
That idea was not met with much enthusiasm.
Robert and Marilyn rolled in...another great surprise!
This whole party was, officially, "A Gas"!!!
rang the dinner triangle and soon everyone moved towards the buffet table.
Leslie with Ellen
Hilary with Ellen
Meanwhile, the Chow Line was moving along at 40-MPH!
"John, don't worry...you won't have to do the dishes!"
then The Hippies grabbed a microphone and serenaded the assembled multitude with
their a-capella versions of tunes by The Mamas and The Papas.
a few tunes (without a Karaoke Machine), people demanded the singing stop and
the Candle-Lighting begin.
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