Much of our time in Phoenix has been spent with family—conversations over popovers or quiche for breakfast with my aunt Evelyn, lunches with cousin Raina and her husband Jesse, lunches with the Friday Lunch Club, an educational introduction to Vietnamese food “hosted” by Jesse and Raina, planned and spontaneous sightseeing adventures, and an Octoberfest gathering.
Raina had planned a get-together at Beverly’s (the wife of my mother’s cousin) home near Camelback Mountain. Our cousins, Sharon and Linda, and their husbands, Chuck and Craig, respectively, all from Illinois were going to be in Tucson for family activities.
Raina had given Beverly a day off from the planning and execution responsibilities surrounding the party.
Walt (a friend of Beverly's) and Jesse handled the grilling of the bratwurst, bockwurst, and a type of hot sausage.
Regarding the menu, Raina purchased the sausages, prepared sauerkraut and a fruit tray, and brought a chocolate cake; Kate prepared a cheese and salami tray, some potato salad, and baked beans; Evie prepared some fruit trays; Beverly added a pork tenderloin and German red cabbage.
While Beverly was running an errand, I had the instruction book out trying to determine how to start her oven. After more than a few minutes, I got the overn started and then organized a tasting of six different Octoberfest beers.
Following the meal, several of us played an animated round of the card game "99." Even though Raina put a lot of effort into overseeing the preparations for a thoroughly enjoyable meal, she was still sharp enough to win the game.
Beverly and I had hoped that there would be enough enthusiasm among the group for another round or two that would extend late into the evening, but such was not the case.
It was a very good day.