On Anniversaries

October 5th, 2010 · 13 Comments · Birthdays, Holidays, Celebrations, Dinner, Rituals

I’ve been thinking a lot about anniversaries this week. Exactly a year ago today I retired from full-time working-mom life. (Doesn’t that sound so much more empowering than…”Exactly a year ago I was let go” or “Exactly a year ago Cookie folded.”) The staff drowned its sorrows at Scratcher in the East Village, which just so happens to be the bar where Andy and I clinked two bourbons-on-the-rocks* to finish off our anniversary celebration last night. It was half a block from the restaurant where we ate dinner (Degustation. Please go.), a coincidence I decided was too good a memory-mining opportunity to miss. Memory-mining, in case you can’t tell, is sport in my house. Unlike my forward-thinking friend Jenny, who once told me dinners out with her husband usually involve him asking “So what’s our five-year plan?”, I am always looking for a good occasion to ask things like “Can you name all the restaurants where we’ve celebrated the past 13 anniversaries?” (We came up with about six — the rest are recorded in my Diary or scribbled inside the restaurant matchbooks that I used to collect.) On almost every one of these nights, the waiter would approach us at some point during the meal with a message: Your wine tonight is courtesy of your parents. Or Your champagne tonight is courtesy of Aunt Patty and Uncle Julian. (That was technically our engagement dinner, and the cork above, dated 12/15/96 with a ballpoint pen, is from the bottle we popped that night.) And then there was the dinner at Babbo in 1999 that I will never forget — when the entire check was picked up by a friend for whom Andy had just done a favor. Every single time this happens, I am blown away by the gesture — whether it’s a glass of champagne or dessert or the whole meal — blown away by the fact that someone took the time to find our where we were going then call ahead to conspire with a host. Whenever possible, we try to do it right back.

*I love how cool I sound here, but the reality is, Andy and the bartender had to convince me to nut up and have my own glass of Michter’s. But I just had two Albarinos! Maybe I’ll just have a sip of yours. We have to get up early! Just give me half a glass…OK, fine, the whole glass. You’re getting Phoebe on the early bus.

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13 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Mendy // Oct 5, 2010 at 11:40 am

    I miss Cookie!

  • 2 654Carroll // Oct 5, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    i miss Scratcher! (it was three doors down from my home from 1992 to 2005.) Happy anniversary! xo

  • 3 Alanna // Oct 5, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    You ARE cool. I don’t even know what an Albarino is. Jeeze. Happy Anniversary.

  • 4 debbie // Oct 5, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    Wow, those are some nice friends/family! Note to self: start telling people ahead of time when/where you’re going to celebrate.

    I’m almost at the 9-year mark for freelancing. Not a bad life. Not bad at all.

  • 5 City Share // Oct 5, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    I’m impressed with those family and friends too. I have never had that happen, but I think I might try to pass that gesture onto others. Thanks for the idea. Happy Anniversary!

  • 6 Gina // Oct 5, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    Congrats to you on your Anniversary. I have a similar one coming up in November where I mark my 2 year sabbatical…definitely sounds better than “getting let go”. Good for you that you’ve been able to move on and do something it seems you enjoy. I’m still figuring out my next steps…and enjoying it.

  • 7 Jen // Oct 5, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    I also love the idea of calling ahead to the restaurant and paying for all/part of the meal or drinks. I will definitely do that in the future. Also, I collect matchbooks as well, although they are a dying breed now that you can’t smoke in restaurants anymore (I have never smoked in my life, I just like the mementos). I recently realized that I have an entire drawer full of them and that this very well might be a fire hazard. Any idea what to do with all of them?

  • 8 Trish O // Oct 5, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    i also dont know what a albarino is…but i might need one. happy anniversary. My hubby and i always go to the same place for ours and we never go there any other time. It makes it special for us. Hope they never close. On the anniversary of your life change to freelance…maybe that was just the worlds way to get you to slowdown…or start this blog and impact us all in a new way. I do miss Cookie but I need this blog to get my dinner on the table. Way to do a good job!

  • 9 Deirdre // Oct 5, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    I really enjoyed Cookie, but have gotten much more out of this blog in just the past few months! Thanks so much for the bumper sticker that arrived:)

    And now I can’t wait to start paying more attention to where friends are going to celebrate!

  • 10 Natalie // Oct 5, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    Happy Anniversary Jenny and Andy! Thanks for the post. I guess I’m not the only one who saves things from anniversary dinners. I pick up the restaurant’s business card when we have an anniversary dinner. They are sitting in a box, but I have designs on sticking each card in a scrapbook along with a picture of us from that year.

    Thanks for the idea about calling ahead to treat a friend! I’ve never done that before or have had that done for me. I have some friends that are celebrating this weekend so I’ll check out the menu.

    @Jen – have you thought about getting a shadow box and then gluing all of the matchbooks inside in sort of a hodgepodge checkerboard design? That would look really cool on the wall.

  • 11 Jan @ Family Bites // Oct 5, 2010 at 8:16 pm

    Happy Anniversary. Although I’m sad that Cookie is no longer around, I’m so glad this blog is.

  • 12 Jen // Oct 6, 2010 at 9:16 am

    @Natalie – that’s a good suggestion, thanks! I’m afraid I have way too many to put all of them into something like that, but I might be able to go through them and pick out the really good ones that I want to display. Or maybe make two – one with restaurants that have since closed and one with really memorable ones, or something like that. I should probably dump out the matches first though…

  • 13 Caroline // Oct 6, 2010 at 10:37 am

    Happy Anniversary! Me and Tim just celebrated 10 years on the 30th and of course I planned the whole thing around the meal…we also had an extraordinary bottle of wine, something we only splurge on for anniversaries…

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