The party starts with the Early Bird Special…..

The other night I had the pure pleasure of going out for dinner with my husbands side of the family.

No, not my in-laws, but his mothers’ side of the family – all the  COUSINS – yes you got it, median age: 84.

As you may have guessed, Of COURSE we met at the restaurant at 4:45pm for the EARLY BIRD SPECIAL – that part’s a given – but what you may not have guessed is that when we got there, the party had already begun – AT THE BAR!

These old folks knew how to get their drink on!….

I had to admit, I suddenly wasn’t dreading the evening after all.

Two cocktails later the 18 of us were  seated (our young kids were not invited because – as my husband was informed prior- WE “ ARE THE KIDS” – being the babies in our 40’s.

The leader of the pack  (age 88) began the evening by telling each of us it didn’t matter where we sat, as we would all be moving over to our left as each course is served- so that we can get a better chance to talk to the next person – like they did in the catskills in the 1950’s when singles would switch off seating arrangements referred to as the  “round robins”…he was not kidding. We switched seats each course which made no sense to me because regardless of where we sat- no one seemed to be able to hear the person next to them let alone anyone else at the table.

The conversation was loud – LOUD- LOUDDDDD and LOUDDER

I couldn’t decide if that was because :

  1. They couldn’t hear each other because they couldn’t hear themselves they were so deaf or,
  2. They were so drunk they had no idea what they were saying  or,
  3. They had forgotten what they were trying to say midway through their sentences, or
  4. All of the above.

Each time the spanish bus boy, who did not understand a word of English, came around to clear a plate one of the older cousins would ask him for something food related  and the busboy would just shrug and smile- but it didn’t matter that he wasn’t the waiter because regardless, the cousin would forget a few minutes later what they even ordered and take another sip of his cocktail.

The evening lasted 3 1/2 hours – and conversation was full of antidotes and corny loud jokes – straight out of a Jackie Mason routine – or the kind you receive from a forward on the internet and delete.

Dessert was decaf only because -god forbid anyone ordered caffeine past 9:00am- “i would be up all night peeing” – explained cousin Cyril.

I learned ALL ABOUT the “weddings of 1952” where  “Ida, the kosher caterer in Brooklyn” prepared feasts of knishes and stuffing that tasted “like butta!”

By 8:30pm we had each ordered our 4th cocktail and the celebration was coming to a close…yet I had a blast!!!……..which made me stop and think:

These people KNEW HOW TO PARTY!!

On the contrary,  last night I went out for dinner with my husbands other side of the family ….my age, this time kids included……

Dinner wasn’t served until 9:00 pm- an hour past my regular bedtime (my friends know that I’m in bed watching my shows by 8:00pm and if the phone rings I am immediately wondering who died) and the conversation was about the usual- school, camps, vacations, kids, blah bah – my typical day to day. I found myself missing Ida and her knishes.

Even though I only had one glass of wine – OK, three- (admittedly before I even arrived at the restaurant) I still feel exhausted this A.M. and hungover.

It made me question myself-: Why do I elect to go out with people my own age when the OLD folks are the ones who KNOW how to get their party on and STILL BE IN BED BY 9:00 PM!!

The bottom line….no matter how hard you choose to party or at what age you are, one thing is for certain- at least in my case:


For me, if dinner is at 5:00pm and I’m in bed by 8:00PM -even four cocktails later- I’m still good.

Break the rules and eat after 9:00pm -boom everything unravels.

Lesson learned : Get your shluf on and you are GOLDEN!

I realized that I’m hanging out with the wrong age group-

80 is the new 20’s…only the party doesn’t start at midnight it starts at the early bird special buffet.

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