A Luminous Halo

"Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end." --Virginia Woolf

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Location: Springfield, Massachusetts, United States

Smith ’69, Purdue ’75. Anarchist; agnostic. Writer. Steward of the Pascal Emory house, an 1871 Second-Empire Victorian; of Sylvie, a 1974 Mercedes-Benz 450SL; and of Taz, a purebred Cockador who sets the standard for her breed. Happy enough for the present in Massachusetts, but always looking East.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

The Perfect Margarita

Yesterday was Cinco de Mayo, and, coincidentally, the Cherry Blossom Festival. Faithful readers of this blog are aware that there was not a Mexican theme to the Festival. I had worked diligently all day, and had a pleasant time at the gathering under the cherry trees, but all that did not add up to celebrating Cinco de Mayo.

Cinco de Mayo is a holiday which is just surfacing here in New England. Not too many Mexicans in the area, so it's basically just an excuse to party. (Dear reader, please don't misunderstand me. "Just an excuse to party" is a plenty good enough excuse!)

Two years ago, the May meeting of my poetry group happened to fall on Cinco de Mayo, and I happened to be hosting. We usually have a light supper, followed by reading and critiquing the poems each member of the group has brought. I decided to have a Mexican theme for this particular evening.

I made guacamole, served it with chili-lime chips, an entrée which is lost to memory, an apple cake, and a pitcher of margaritas. To my surprise, the rather demure poets had a couple or three margaritas apiece. We nearly didn't get to the poetry! The following year, it was someone else's turn to host the May meeting, but when I suggested a repeat of the previous year, the vote was unanimous. This year, however, we met at Fleming's house on May 3rd for an excellent pasta puttanesca and some equally fine poetry. But no margaritas.

Geri came along with me to the Cherry Blossom Festival. After two glasses of champagne punch, however, she chose a cup of tea at my place over a margarita. It was looking as though Cinco de Mayo was going to pass unnoticed on Salem Street this year. I decided I was being greedy; drove her home and walked the dog.

And whom should I meet on the street but neighbor George, out for a newspaper. He suggested La Dolce Notte for coffee...it was a beautiful night...so off we went. Once we got down to Worthington Street, however, the lure of the club district was too strong. Before I knew it, I was watching some babe trying to stay on the mechanical bull at the Salty Dog Saloon--and drinking margaritas out of a plastic cup.

When it comes to margaritas, I'm a bit of a purist. Tequila, Triple Sec, and FRESH LIME JUICE, people! A margarita doesn't have to have ice. It's a cocktail, which by definition means it's shaken with ice, and then poured into a glass. And if you're not going to salt the rim, you should probably be drinking something else.

Before we got to the Salty Dog, we had hit the Pour House, where the margaritas were served in actual glasses made of glass, and with salt on the rim. On the down side, the glasses were pilsner glasses (hello! rim too small!), and collins mix was substituted for the lime juice. Typical for your average bar these days. But--to this licensed bartender anyway--so...pedestrian.

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