Suddenly in the last week of July, summer snuck in to Tacoma. It arrived with a weather report showing warm days several days in a row. One of those days being Friday, Peg and I decided to host a little get-together of our FandFers Group. FandFers stands from Friends and Fridays. The group isn't always the same, we don't always do the same things, and we don't always not do them at the same place.
My son, Patrick as his Father's Day gift to me, cleaned my BBQ grill and installed a gauge on the propane tank on Wednesday. The grill had not been used since . . . well, quite some time.
We sent out an email Friday morning inviting a few friends. Peg and I decided to cook spareribs. As people responded they volunteered to bring certain items. When Sue responded offering to bring raspberries, spongecake, and ice cream, I asked her if she and her husband, Randy would considering performing. They did.
What a wonderful evening we had. To the delight of our guests, one of our neighborhood deer even stopped by to visit.
We had a ton of good food to eat in spite of the ribs, which were awful. Peg made an excellent BBQ sauce with fresh veggies, caramelized onions, and brown sugar but the actual meat left something to be desired. I slow cooked it in the oven with a dry rub. My plan was to remove it when the meat began to fall off the bone. The problem is that there was virtually no meat and what there was was tough and held on to the bone for dear life. I ended up brushing on Peg's sauce and leaving the ribs in the oven hoping to finish it off on the grill once I saw a sign of soft tissue . . . there were no signs. We ate dinner and left dessert for after the entertainment.
Randy and Sue had played in a group called The Shadows during the 60s and 70s. Sue started in the group while still a high school student. The group played dates all round the South Puget Sound area. Their music catered to everyone from six to sixty. They would start with standards and work their way to rock and roll.
Sue played the accordion and Randy played guitar (bass guitar in the band). Sitting on the deck she brought out old, dog-eared and torn pieces of sheet music. "Here was my mother's favorite," she would say and start playing. We knew the songs. We would come up with the title and then the movie if it had been a movie theme like Moon River from Breakfast at Tiffany's. Sometimes we would sing a phrase or two. Sometimes we would know the exact year. And we did know them all from The Beer Barrel Polka to Lara's Theme from Dr. Zhivago.
Randy quit the band for a while, but discovered he spent his free time following the band even when he wasn't in it. He finally joined them again. He says he played guitar badly, bass guitar badly, but he hauled equipment in his truck and he was in love.
On the night of the last gig, the band announced they were quitting because "the guitar player has gotten the accordion player pregnant." Being four months along, the accordion no longer fit on her lap. The band didn't announce that Randy and Sue had been married for a year.
We all laughed at their stories and at own stories as well. After the entertainment, Sue served us raspberries from their backyard. Like the happy couple the berries were sweet and wonderful.
Our dinner party was the first time in about two years that Sue had played her accordion. It had been the same for Randy and his guitar. It didn't matter to us. We applauded every tune. It was a great summer evening on our deck in Tacoma.