Edie’s earlier intro to the group at the last card party served to make her appearance at the annual block party a little easier. I couldn’t say the same for Artie. I saw Edie and Artie leave their house and walk toward the middle of the block. Edie was holding a covered platter and Artie was wearing pink shorts and a fancy panel front shirt. Quite a statement not usually made by the average male on our block. I met Edie at the food tables as she moved a few dishes, including my brownies, to make room for her big plate of brownies. They were perfect little squares of chocolatey goodness. Everyone else in my group knew not to make brownies since I had been perfecting my own recipe and bringing them to the block party this year. Edie introduced Artie to me and I asked him if he wanted to join the guys at the grill. He said that he would sit with Edie for awhile and we all walked toward our group had set up our chairs. We always had extra chairs; Artie waltzed over to the one in the center of the group and stood in front of the seat until Edie and I sat down. Well, at least he’s a gentleman. The other ladies joined the group and someone got Artie and Edie drinks. This year, we were enjoying a mixture of gin, lemon juice, sugar syrup and soda water known as a Tom Collins. There were cherries on the top of each drink to make them look festive. Artie and Edie clinked glasses and I heard a little “shala shala” from Edie.
By the third drink, Artie had heard way too many intimate details that weren’t usually discussed in front of the men. There was a lot more giggling than usual. Artie seemed okay with what he was hearing and showed no interest in grilling with the other guys. I kind of understood that he wouldn’t want to get his fancy shirt dirty but we do have rules about the separation of the sexes on our block.
As I have discussed before, there is a lot of competition in the dessert category. My delicious brownies and Edie’s stack of brownies were on the same table. Some people complimented me on my dessert but I didn’t know if they had really eaten one of my brownies or one of Edie’s. There was only one person who could end my issue with which was better tasting. I went down to the food tables, picked up one of each brownie and put them on a plate. I brought the plate to Harold and pulled him away from the guys. Steve looked a little perplexed. Harold tried a bite from both and smiled after biting into mine. I felt enormous relief and gave him a kiss on the cheek. Harold returned to his group and I quietly but smugly sat back down after checking on my children. As I sat down, some of my high school French came back to me and I quietly proclaimed “vache sacree.” I think I had unconsciously found my slogan.