I love hearing from friends on New Year’s Eve. The first to call was my 83- year- old rodeo cowgirl friend Aunt Daisy. She had just finished hauling bales of hay to the loft of her horse barn.
“Real good to hear your voice,” she said.
“What’s happening at the farm tonight?” I asked.
“Well, Hon,” she said, “I’m addressin’ some last minute chores before the new year but Earl and me plan to bend an elbow with some whiskey to welcome 2015.”
“Who’s Earl?” I asked.
“He’s my new farm hand, darlin’,” she said.
I knew that “farm hand” was code for boyfriend. “How did you meet him?” I asked.
“We did rodeo together and a few months ago, Earl, who was a bronco rider, developed a real bad case of hemorrhoids and had to quit riding. He called to tell me his life was over but I told him that was just balderdash and invited him to live here where I could happyfy him.”
“Glad to hear you have a hand at the farm,” I said, holding the phone away so she couldn’t hear me chuckling.
“We might have a bit of barrel fever tomorrow morning but my red hot chili will cure what ails us! I love you, Hon, but right now I’ve got ridin’ to do. Be in touch next year!”
Our good friends Lucia and Sky from Martini Cove, the island where we had lived, called via satellite phone aboard their yacht, the Golden Fleece.
“Where are you?’ I asked, excited at hearing Lucia’s voice.
“We’re cruising down the Chaophraya River near Bangkok. There’ll be fireworks soon. Wish you and Max were aboard!”
I felt a pang of longing. They had been a big part of our life at Martini Cove and their yacht had played an important role.
Instead of getting teary, I asked her what they were doing.
“We have 10 guests on board and ordered in the most marvelous Thai food. The whole boat smells of curry, lime leaves, seafood and garlic. There’s spicy shrimp soup, chicken in coconut soup, green curry crab, pad Thai and, oh, lots of other food. I just put it out in containers but really wish you and Max were here to arrange it nicely.”
Sky came on the line to wish us a Happy New Year. I have a crush on Sky and his brilliant smile and blushed just hearing his voice.
Lucia was back on. “Oh, got to run! It’s almost twelve here and fireworks are crackling. We need to pop some more bottles of Veuve Clicquot!”
“Love you! And Happy New Year,” we shouted to each other.
Max and I had spent so many New Year’s Eves catering parties that we were quite content to stay at home with our four legged family – Salsa our dog and three cats: Mamacita, Pico and Ajo. Of course, Max insisted we dress up. Max will wear his tuxedo and I will squeeze into my black sequined gown and wear the enameled champagne bottle pin Max designed for me – maybe the black cocktail hat with the feathers and dotted veil?
Max made petit sandwiches for us: smoked salmon curled to look like lobsters with caper eyes, caviar in egg white cups on buttered toast, and sardines mashed with lemon and minced onion spread on rye. We also had several bottles of champagne chilling.
Just before we dressed, Bobo called to wish us a Happy New Year. He and Cutlass were staying at home and locking the door.
“No more guests this season!” he said emphatically. “But next time you come out, we’ll show you what we found when we knocked down the wall between the bedroom and the terraza!”
Lots to look forward to!
Max and I wish you prosperity in 2015 and warm breezes from across the Gulf!
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