Cent’ Anni!

Well, here I am, officially fifty! That’s definitely a first for me. So far, so good. I like to think I don’t look two days over forty-nine (if you count it from the 364th day of my forty-ninth year). And it’s also my mother’s seventieth birthday — I was the birthday present she was most relieved to see on January 20, 1958, in Lincoln, Nebraska (more on that Big Red blood flowing in my veins in a future post!).

I commemorated the day with nineteen members of my extended Austin family crammed around the Pope’s Table at Bucca di Beppo. I was ensconced in the “papal” chair, a gothic wooden that rather fell short of regal symmetry thanks to a missing finial. By ordering family style, we played multiple rounds of Spin Pope Benedict — the dishes were all served on a giant lazy Susan, with a bust of His Holiness under a Plexiglas box (shades of the Pope Mobile? Although it did make a nice pedestal for the bouquet from my friend Brad). I like to think our meal was blessed over and over again! The challenge of Spin the Pope was how to serve from the lazy Susan when people on the other side of the table would start spinning it, setting off some very amusing gyrations!

Being all hemmed in around the table , we got cozy and had to rely on the lovely and talented Helen, editrice of Tribeza, to keep us apprised on the Giants-Packer game, since she was closest to the escape route. I think we were mostly rooting for Green Bay, so that was all rather a letdown.

My unofficial survey indicated raves about the meal, with the apple-gorgonzola salad and the shrimp and scallops orzo receiving the highest marks (I liked the eggplant and the penne campofiore, myself and let’s not forget the TIRAMASU!). Much to my surprise, my guests had trouble finishing off the enormous bottle of chianti, which became my souvenir after Merv stuck a taper candle in it — I plan to use it as a centerpiece at next month’s Fête du Spaghetti.

The food was superb, and yes, I did end up with some lovely presents (and I like presents!), but what really meant a lot to me was the camaraderie and being surrounded by such wonderful friends. We all joked that I needed to draw a mind-map diagram (with moi at the center) to illustrate how I knew which guests. Kevin Bacon, look out — this would be more like one degree of Cyndle! I had the Statesman group, the Texas Monthly connections, Cheesecracker World Series (definitely some overlap with the former two groups), Unity, and Other (as in Cedar Door, Gridiron, and friends of friends who are now all friends!).

I’m thinkin’ I’ll go a couple more half-centuries and live up to that traditional Italian toast: “Cent’ Anni”!

1 Response to “Cent’ Anni!”

  1. 1 Debi Martin February 26, 2008 at 4:23 pm


    In all the years I’ve known you, half your life at this point, I have seen your work as an editor but never as a writer. Girrrll. You good! I’m enjoying your writing. The spirituality, the humor, the way you express yourself in words that read just like the way you talk. Blog on, my buddy, blog on. I’ll keep reading.

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