1. An Irish get together; party in a small place, usually a residence
2. One who rides a Moto Guzzi in a sportsman-like manner (something else to look up)
3. A strong wind. Doesn't have to be storm force, just a strong wind that sways big trees
4. A rowdy person typically from Irish (or Gaelic) descent; short for Hooligan.
5. Another name for a cigarette or joint (Um... I don't think so)
6. A Protestant wake, predominantly in Northern Ireland (we aren't dead yet)
7. A can of non-cheapass beer (or Coke Zero?)
Hmmm... we aren't at all Irish (to my knowledge) but Gaelic fits with our Welsh background. In this case, the hoolie was a party for my brother John, whose birthday was today and also a going away party as he leaves for another tour in Kuwait tomorrow. Happy freakin' birthday to you, Bro.
Actually, going was his choice and he's glad of it. The circumstances of his life are much happier these days and it makes going both better and worse.
There was food. LOTS of food!
Mom also put together a sandwich board. Different kinds of bread, turkey, ham, cheese. There was also a bowl of homemade coleslaw made by our friend Duffy, a tray of cut up veggies and one of fruit. There was enough food there to feed an army. As it was we had 15 people for lunch and there was STILL food left over. Happily, I brought quite a bit home with me and we'll be munching on it for quite a while!
I brought deviled eggs, which filled this tray plus another smaller plate. By lunchtime, this is all that was left. When lunch was over, they were all gone.
I also made the birthday cake, but as you can see, my writing skills leave much to be desired. It looks like I start out every word with Parkinson's disease. It was a French Vanilla cake with Milk Chocolate frosting at the birthday boy's request. It also featured two little army men, which kind of disappeared against the frosting.
In addition to immediate family, we had some friends come too. Mom's best friend, Duffy came to help out and be a part of the celebrations. I'm so glad she was able to join us! Mom would have had a harder time pulling this off without her help. She made the awesome coleslaw and helped decorate for the party.
John's friends Scott (business partner and friend) and Scott's wife, Carolyn (or Caroline, I'm not sure) also joined us. I think I've met them before somewhere, but where that might have been escapes me at the moment... they were a nice addition to the gathering!
There were young people there... two of John's kids, Maggie and Walker; Lynn's daughter Madison and her boyfriend, and of course, ZBoy. They hung out and played scrabble and "who am I?" Walker was NOT pleased to be Osama Bin Laden! I was so glad that Z was joining in. I think I have Camp Weed to thank for that. Before his experience there, he would have hung back and not participated. Today, he had a great time!
Even though we used paper plates and plastic utensils, there was still washing up to do! John and Lynn took care of it and for once, I didn't have to do anything in there. I admit it felt odd and somehow wrong to have the guest of honor washing up though. Jerry took a well-earned nap after lunch. He was up much of last night working on those Boston butts. Between those and the crazy hours he works, I wasn't at all surprised.
After the clean-up and a brief visiting around again, it was time for cake. You'll be happy to know that John blew out ALL his candles, so his wish should come true. Like most family gatherings, there was plenty of laughter as we broke bread (or in this case, cake) together.
There was the usual card openings and then Dad handed John a gift. We don't usually gift for birthdays, but this was special. He gave John his birthday book prepared by James (with James' approval) that is a picture book of the area of North Wales that Dad grew up in. John spent a year living there with Grandma J and the family on Glyn Artro and I think it may have been the experience that made him grow up. James went there recently and took lots of pictures that made us all homesick for a place we'd never lived - except for Dad and John. Dad will get another copy of the book, but he wanted John to have something special to take to the Sandbox with him - cool pictures to gaze upon during those unbearably hot days and nights in Kuwait.
This has been a bittersweeet birthday for John, I think. He's got a lovely girlfriend, who seems to get him and he her. They enjoy their time together, which will be damned little this coming year as John doesn't really get much leave time. However, his life seems to be falling into place at this last leaving and I sincerely hope that when he celebrates his next birthday, all the pieces will fit together and life will become... magical.