I don't know that any pictures survived from that party, but a year later, we looked something like this:
And what's with the ultra-hip "Ben Stiller playing a cheezy 1970's hipster" look I have there, anyway? Trying to pretend I'm some sort of wild man, I'm sure.
And the next year (below), Mark's looking like the handsome and innocent boy next door, Lois, looking quite fetching in an early "Madonna" sort of way -- and apparently Geraldo Rivera showed up in my place. Good thing I got back in time from raising that safe from the Titanic. I notice I was taking the rare opportunity to at least put my arm around a pretty girl. Screw the cake, man. And no wonder. (Go back to the picture above if you don't know what I'm talking about.)
The years went by, and we did this until we graduated. Mark left town for radio gigs in Kansas, and Lois went to St. Louis to have a string of bad relationships as pennance for all the sins all three of us committed in college. Thank you Lois, you're a savior. The tradition, we all thought, ended when we left school.
But, five or so years later, Mark, fed up with the dusty plains of Kansas and its associated blah radio culture, came back to Columbia to start anew, and get a graduate degree in philosophy. We got an apartment together, and the mutual birthday party was reborn.
Radio called him back and he found a wonderful girl in Cami. I started doing computer support at the University and met Vicki -- who lived in the fourplex we had moved in to. And Lois dumped the last of the butt-heads and her sister hooked her up with this great guy we now all know and love in Mike.
We've pretty much done it every year since. Even when Mark and Cami lived in Texas. We've gone through the growing up of my two step kids, and the births of four new kids in the group, two for Mark, two for Lois, and here we are, forty one years old, still doing it. Well, the parties anyway ;-)
Somehow, it seems to take less alchohol now.
We had a great time. Mike, Mark, and I all play some sort of stringed instrument, and Cami just picked up a guitar and is doing well. We sat around, fetched kids, made food, listened to fascinating narratives by very young children about anything from why the Incredible Hulk can beat anyone up (hint: it's because he's the Incredible Hulk) to how to make little butterflies with beads and an iron.
Stayin' up late, talking, playing music... yeahhhhhhh.
Mark made some killer bbq sauce and grilled up some fantastic chicken & portabellas (in the -20 degree howling windchill outside) Lois deluged us with a ton of very tasty cob salad. We brought our snoopy waffle irons and batter & canadian bacon for one breakfast, while Cami treated us to great breakfast burritos the other morning. Mike made balloon animals for the kids, and put on a cool magic show for everyone Sunday afternoon to top it all off. Laughing. Joking, Strumming, Singing. Cool shizzle.
Happy Birthdays to Us.
(thanks to Lois Lane for the pictures!)