Saturday, April 14, 2012

My Social Security Birthday

I'm not bashful about celebrating my birthday, or even about throwing myself a party. As my father used to say about having birthdays, it's better than the alternative. And this birthday deserved celebrating. I turned 62 and will receive my first Social Security check in June.

After a year in Grecia, I've made several friends, and I wanted them to help me celebrate my birthday. All but one of my invitees came, and that one was laid up with an injured leg. I even had a gatecrasher. Todo bien. Everything was good.

My favorite bar/restaurant is the Grecia Social Club, just five blocks from my house. I walk down there once a weekend or two for dinner and a beer when I don't want to cook. I sit at the bar, speak English with Roy, the bartender, and Spanish with Napo, Pili and Ibo, the three waiters. The staff is very friendly, as are the other customers. So that's where I decided to have my birthday lunch.

Most gringos don't know the Grecia Social Club, but that is about to change. They think it's a real club and you need to be a member. That's not the case; anyone can go in there. And there are pool tables downstairs, but I've never played there.

So there were 11 of us seated around a big table. Dolores, my dancing cohort, brought a bottle of Cahuita Lizano (coconut rum), which I introduced her to and which is mentioned in one of my earlier posts. Our wonderful waiter, Napo, brought us copas (shot glasses) and most of us cheered my birthday and tippled. It was a great and generous idea that set everyone to talking and having a good time.

We ate typical tico food, and then got to the main event: a black forest cake that I had ordered at my favorite bakery and coffee shop, Grupo Electa. I made my wish and the group sang. I sliced enough pieces for everyone at the table, and brought the rest of the cake back to the bar and kitchen for my friends who work there.

We got separate bills, and when I went to pay, the owner said, no Margie, it's your birthday. You don't have to pay. I was shocked, as he is not known to be overly generous. So I left a big tip for Napo and thanked him for his service.