If it weren't so dry around here, I'd swear it was the jungle with the temperature in the 90s and the humidity dripping moisture. Face it: July and August make some of us long for a crisp autumn evening or a cool spring shower. I would never survive in the South not only because of the heat but also the lack of water. Since I hide in the shower three times a day when it's hot out, I wouldn't last a week. The water commission would escort me across state lines back to the North where the rivers run free and water is typically abundant.
Despite detesting the heat, something possessed me to plan a garden supper for some of my favorite people. The heat must be rotting my brain! Oh well, I did invite them and after much deliberating on the look of the picnic, I realized I had better fill those 12 individual baskets with delectable food items before I called a caterer to take over.
Decisions made on the food, I left the fun part for last and headed to Jungle Jim's to buy the wine and the flowers. I wanted to jump in the fake safari with that elephant out front who was spraying a huge font of water high into the air, but I ran for the air conditioning instead.
I caught my breath inside the door and nearly ran into the construction zone. When is Jim going to be finished enlarging this place? It is already mammoth and the spot to go for almost any item. Last fall I actually found goat's stomach and pig's brain for a science class I got involved in.
Where else could one walk in and out in 10 minutes with those items? Thank God, Fairfield is only a drive away.
The wine selection is a virtual adult playground here and while I didn't see Jim, I was happy to have an eager college student help me choose a case of reds for the party. He liked my concept of mix and match merlots, Bordeauxs, cabernets and even a Shiraz or two. I liked the way his eyes hid behind his long lashes but refrained from doing the whole Graduate gig as I gave that up for Lent.
Sunflowers beckoned me further inside and I ended up with three dozen, as more is always better when it comes to wine and flowers. My garden did not produce sunflowers but who cares as I just put a sign that says, "Do not pick the flowers" as a joke in front of the weeds. I can buy the damn flowers.
I ended up wandering in the international section for a while forgetting that there was much to be done at home. A great looking black man started a conversation over in the Chinese section as I deliberated whether fortune cookies go to French picnics. He was yummy looking and dressed sharply as black guys usually are when they leave the house. His teeth were white and his smile broad. Hmm, maybe he would fit in my basket.
The twist to the picnic party was the request that the guests bring back the basket that the invite was tucked in alongside a loaf of French bread, grapes and bottled water. The idea was a basket swap along the lines of an ornament exchange. Seeing as the guest list includes three couples, four gay guys and two straight girls, it was sure to be a fun addition to the case of wine and lots of sunflowers. Throw in cold food like cucumber soup, pork tenderloin and an onion tart we would have a regular good time.
Exhausted from preparing the simple picnic fare, I quickly showered on Tuesday night. The air was hot and humid, the yard freshly manicured and the guests full of vim and vigor per usual. The baskets were a delight ranging from lottery tickets to a snow leopard vibrator with a banana split theme. Guess they don't make them banana flavored after all. One had an international theme complete with French tickler, which had jokes flying about Ed being taken around the world by Chris. Another had magazines and a split of champagne. The lottery tickets were the big hit and the basket most stolen from, though vows where made to share the wealth and to take a "gourmet to go" trip should the final victor win.
The gang emptied eight bottles of wine and had started in on the Kahlua when the gorgeous guy from my grocery trip pulled in the drive. He sauntered across the lawn with white roses in hand and the woman all fawned over him making quick introductions. It was great to see he looked as good as I remembered over a shopping cart and I had to giggle when Jerry whispered in my ear, "I guess chocolate doesn't break you out."
Can I help it that I have a sweet tooth?
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