What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits: the Orinda Pool Party 2019

Yes, I’m going to a party, party!

If you missed it yesterday, you will have to wait another year, the Orinda Pool Party and Ride that is. We had eleven people do the ride and eighteen at the party. I would love to give you a full report on the 10th edition however I missed the ride part due to a broken collarbone from a mountain biking accident. And no, it was not as David Go. remarked, “He broke it when he fell out of the sling!” although I was indeed sporting an arm sling as my new fashion accessory (basic black, of course, from the House of Kaiser!) Since everybody who rode made it safely to the manse with smiles, I assume that the ride was fabulous and that copious, gay chatter along the way added to everyone’s delight. Thanks to David Gaus and Stephanie Clarke for leading the ride and making sure the sheep did not go astray (and you know they like to stray).

So I’ll confine my remarks to the only part of the day I witnessed and that really mattered, the pool and the food! Special thanks to Jim Lemburg for assisting us with setting up for the party as lifting chairs and lugging food and daypacks around was a little bit too much for my bum arm and Roger had already been doing double-duty in prepping the garden, pool, and deck when I couldn’t help him much (if at all).

After almost a decade of the same menu—pesto with basil from the garden, Aidell’s sausages, and Caesar salad—we gave the meal a facelift- er, “meal-lift”. It’s not like we were still serving retro-fabulous dishes such as Baked Alaska, Vichysoisse, or Crab Rangoon (and if you don’t know what those are, you are not ‘of an age’) but almost as bad since pesto is so…1980s. And yes honey, it does taste delicious but as they say, how can you miss me if I don’t go away? That said, several people came up to me during the meal and expressed their sincere fondness for the homemade pesto, and perhaps next year it will launch a comeback tour!

What was the new menu? We decided to go full Americana—smoked pork ribs, cole slaw, and potato salad—to fit with summer. Some years ago we were invited by family friends to a barbecue where the son-in-law was smoking up a storm. We had a long conversation with him about smoking at home, and in a moment of stupendous lucidity Roger ordered one immediately after we arrived got home. After years of practice and experimentation now Roger has smoking ‘skilz’ and they were fully on display with the ribs. Everyone (well, except the vegans) was commenting on how delicious and tender they were, how the ‘meat fell right off the bone’, ‘those ribs had so much meat on them!’, ‘you knows I like to chew on tasty meat!’, etc. This time Roger used apple wood for the smoked flavor. The potato salad was the ‘hippie’ version with whatever we had in the fridge being chopped up and thrown in along with plenty of weed- er, herbs. The homemade cole slaw was, well, nothing special and I didn’t see anybody spitting it out after tasting it, so it must have been palatable.

More than quiche and mimosas?

Fortunately for the vegans we had some delicious non-animal dishes as well. We provided vegan cole slaw and potato salad in addition to the regular kind; Lamberto and Joe brought vegan chili (“We used the Instant Pot!”); and Jim made a delicious lentil dish.
This year the A-M group had to bring desserts and because we were A-M heavy we had a lot of desserts. I didn’t taste them all but the homemade lime bars that Chris made were OMG “oishi” and Darrell’s chocolate brownie cake was “sugoi!” And Stephanie, was that incredibly sweet melon and delectable prosciutto a “dessert”? No matter. The prosciutto was “rustic” (cinghiale?) and fantastic. (She must have smuggled a stash home of The Real Stuff on their last trip to Italy!)

Besides the splishin’ and splashin’ in the pool, the lunch was long with conversation; we didn’t break up until the sun had moved well towards the horizon and no longer needed the awnings to keep the back deck from feeling like the portico to hell.

2 thoughts on “What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits: the Orinda Pool Party 2019

  1. Thanks for the story of the day, Tony. Too bad I wasn’t able to come yesterday. I hope your unfortunately injured collarbone heals quickly.


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