I wasn't looking forward to this happy hour invitation at first, but upon arriving at the 16,000 sf mansion built into the side of Camelback Mountain, my attitude swiftly improved. Relations with my dad's girlfriend are strained at times, or at least the times when I'm not actively avoiding her. So when she called me out of the blue saying that she was in town traveling with 3 of her girlfriends from Texas I was accepting the invitation sort of under the premise of maintaining family harmony.
As it turned out, these ladies were a riot.
In the photo left to right there's Patricia, Queenie (the fact that one was named Queenie was enough to win me over for the evening), Peggy, and Nancy (the girlfriend). You wouldn't guess it, but Peggy was 80 years old. We talked about her frequent trips to see her daughter in Fairbanks, Alaska, which is a trip she continues to make every year. Then there was Queenie, who's son is an Iron Chef, and Patricia, who's grand-daughter married well (ahem...really well) and lives in the mansion we had the pleasure to visit. The "help", also known as Karen, grilled us filet mignons on the huge outdoor grill on the patio overlooking the Valley of the Sun while we watched the sun set, the desert sky colors enhanced by the copious white wine. We talked about practical jokes, football, traveling, relationships, and the aurora borealis, and I was sad to have to leave. I got an offer to be adopted by several of the ladies...depending on how this grad school experiement turns out I might just take them up on the offer...