Did I tell you I don’t get invited to a lot of parties? Well, that is fast changing. I think it’s the blog. It’s given me some sort of celebrity status that makes me a must invite.
“We’re not inviting Mama approved? Who does that? what kind of party would we have without her?”
This is what I imagine everyone is telling their party planner. I’m not talking about those BYOB backyard nyama Choma gatherings. I mean proper sit-down, grown up events with dressed chairs, cutlery and napkins.
So, when Esther’s Ecard arrived a few weeks ago, I read it with an air of nonchalance. The way I imagine socialites do. Like, I’m past the phase of jumping up and down in excitement over such news. Deep down though, my heart was doing cartwheels. I even consulted my social diary which was predictably blank, but nonetheless consulted, before replying to her WhatsApp message with, “Why white?”
Now, there are people who are embarrassed or depressed by birthdays or resent or forget them. Not Esther Macharia. To her, a birthday is a feast of personal rebirth, a time to celebrate herself, to dance on tables if she has a mind to.
As I found out at the party, she prefers to serenade her guests accompanied by a guitar. So unabashed is she by her annual milestone that she starts talking about it weeks in advance telling everyone how old she is turning.
I asked why white because the invitation said, “dress code: white.” One thing that will take a lot of getting used to in my new-found socialite status is this themed party business that’s going around.
If you know Esther, you know that she lives life in colour, she speaks in exclamation marks and italics and laughs from the belly. Now that I think about it, I’ve never heard her whisper in all the years I’ve known her. She lives life with passion and enthusiasm. If she were a colour, white would not be it.
Many moons back, before Lady Gaga and size 8 were born, before they made red hair acceptable, she had a weave with purple highlights done for our colleague Eva’s wedding and kept it on for a week or two. Back then, we hosted a radio show together. Each time we met in the studio during the life span of that hair, I was struck by not only how nice it looked but by her bravery too.
You needed balls of steel to walk around Nairobi like that – which I believe she did not possess so that was just kujiamini at another level.
Anyway, People, mellow with age plus she has since found Jesus. Like, seriously connected so white it was.
The venue, the sovereign Suites, was a grand spot for a 40th Birthday party. As we drove in, my daughter exclaimed in awe “This place reminds me of Downton Abbey.” I agreed. It exudes maturity, class, a self-acceptance that says, I know who I am. I don’t need a crowd. I am okay with five friends. Except Esther is not a five-friend girl. We were well over fifty.
Sovereign suites the party venue.
I had contemplated wearing a white poncho – my only piece of white clothing– with tights and boots and pretending it was a trend. If Esther could get away with purple hair a decade ago… but what if the weather dictated otherwise? How would I explain not taking it off? besides, knowing her, I knew her entire clan would be there and that would not be appropriate.
I managed to pull off a white ensemble – a story for another day. As we made our way down the spiral staircase to the party venue, a patio overlooking the pool, I was glad I had taken the trouble. We Were greeted by a sea of white. The birthday girl looked immaculate in a white little number. Even the tables were dressed in white tablecloths. It was so serene, I began to appreciate our hosts choice of colour theme.
Abel, the event’s MC was inviting guests to the buffet. He is a huge man, Abel. With huge arms and a broad smile that shut his eye when he smiles. He also gives the best bear hugs. Always reminds me of that song from catechism “Rock-a my soul in the bosom of Abraham” I imagine that’s how it would feel being in Abraham’s bosom.
The birthday girl went round acknowledging everyone, thanking them for coming. She showed my daughter and I to a nice corner overlooking the pool with a gas lamp overhead keeping out the Red Hill cold. It was also the closest to the buffet essentially making us last to arrive, first to eat. Thanks by the way, I hadn’t eaten all day in anticipation for this feast and it did not disappoint.
The evening’s speaker delivered a talk on the significance of forty. Quoting the Bible, he said it signifies preparation. Moses was prepared in Egypt for forty years to lead the Exodus.It also marks the time to let Let go of things that you should let go of. The Israelites ate Maana for forty years after which it run out and it was time to move on. It’s a time to forge ahead, forgetting past mistakes and missed opportunities. A time to make the most of the time that lies ahead.
“ Don’t fight to keep alive that which must go.” He said.
The Birthday girl had a lovely time. She sang, danced, ate cake and spoke into the microphone surrounded by her friends and family – just a few of her favourite things.
Thanks for a lovely evening, for the only sermon I listened to last week, and for such lovely company. If forty is everything it’s billed to be, buckle up. you’re in for a great ride.
Happy 40th Birthday. Here’s to another sixty.