I can’t believe I didn’t take any pictures.

When we first announced the wedding and sent out the invitations, one of the first respondents was an old friend, Rich Matli.  My brother first met Rich in high school when they both worked for Lucky Market.  Mike ended up going into the Navy right after high school – 1969-ish – and me, Rich, and another childhood friend, Bill Wickliffe -became a rather intoxicated three Musketeers.  To say we drank a bit in those underage days would be an understatement.  But we had fun.  Lots of fun.

Fast-forward to 2008 and Rich and Bill both are retired firefighters.  They stayed put while I travelled all over the USofA.  They’re retired.  With real pensions.  I hate them both.  But I digress…

As soon as Rich found out when we were arriving in San Francisco, he invited us to dinner at his house out in Concord.  To my brother’s dismay, we decided to take BART out there.  Trying to get anywhere via freeway on a Friday in the Bay Area is a lesson in futility.  Mike and Debbie met us at the Daly City BART Station and a $5.35 ticket later, we were on our way.

Rich’s brother Robert and his wife, Mary were there and immediately we were talking, laughing, and joking with the ease of 40+ years of friendship.  Reminiscing about some of the antics we all pulled as kids from my brother literally almost killing Rich in a car accident to our skiing at Squaw Valley with gallons of wine packed in the snow – one at the top of the hill and one at the bottom.

Did I say we had a lot of fun?!?

We finally made our way to the dining room, where Rich had set a table that would have made Martha Stewart jealous.  And dinner…  A Caesar salad and garlic bread – really heavy on the garlic – started the meal of perfectly cooked Prime Rib, thick slices of potatoes baked in a casserole with mushrooms, onions, celery… Broccoli in a cheddar cheese sauce.  And enough food to feed a firehouse.  He did not skimp on the portions.  We ate.  Pineapple upside down cake for dessert finished me off.

A damned fine dinner.

At one point we were talking about the wedding-that-wasn’t-to-be and Rich asked about where we had registered.  We explained we hadn’t registered because we had been together for 14 years and didn’t need a new toaster, but friends had told us we weren’t playing by the rules, so we decided that if folks wanted to buy us gifts, Christmas ornaments would be perfect.  One can never have too many.

Rich left for a second and came back with this.

It shall have a place of honor on the tree.

The night ended late but we’ll see Rich again tomorrow at Eileen’s house.  There’s going to be quite the party…

And now we’re off to see Deb and Chris…..