A Tree Glows in Lancaster


My friend Maria drove 200 miles through pouring rain on Friday to bring me furniture and Christmas decorations, but mainly to party here for the monthly town party known as Lancaster First Friday.  With the heavy downpour of rain, the outdoor festivities were cancelled, but the indoor fun continued.

We started at the Belvedere Inn, compliments of my friends Barbara and John, who gave me a gift certificate for the place as a housewarming gift when I moved in.  I was saving it for just the right occasion and this was it.  The Belvedere Inn is probably the best restaurant in Lancaster, and after 200 miles of white-knuckle driving in the heavy rain, Maria needed a good meal and a drink – not necessarily in that order.

I didn’t make reservations so we had to go to the bar until a table opened up.  That suited us both just fine.  We toyed with the idea of drinking Geralynis, a drink made famous by our friend Geralyn on the Las Vegas trip.  (In case you’ve forgotten, I went to Vegas a few weeks ago with Maria, Geralyn, Marianne, and Sabrina.)  We decided, though, to stick to more conventional beverages, wine and beer.

To show off my knowledge of Lancaster, I told Maria that “the Belvedere Inn has live jazz on Friday nights from 7 until 10.  After that they have Disco.”

The bartender cringed and bit his lip.  I looked at him and said that I heard they had Disco on late Friday nights.  He informed me that they did indeed have a DJ, but that Disco died nearly 4 decades ago.

Ooops, my age was showing.

A table was now available upstairs, and we went there.  We could hear the jazz coming from a room next door and it was great.  So was the Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad, the Salmon, and the Lamb Chops.  Thank you Barbara and John.

It was still pouring when we left the Belvedere Inn, so we went around the corner to my favorite bar in Lancaster, The Alley Kat, a place where the entire staff is too young to know that there ever was a dance called the Alley Cat, which played at every wedding in the ‘50s, ‘60s, and ‘70s.  We were already stuffed so we just drank, but I told Maria that this was where I went every Monday for the Pizza special, a 15 inch pizza for $6.00.  I also went there on Thursdays for the live music and the best pastrami sandwich I ever had in my life.  (I’ve since learned that they go to NY every Tuesday and pick up their pastrami at the Carnegie Deli.  No wonder it’s so good.)

After that, since it was still pouring, we decided not to venture too far away.  We went back to the Belevedere Inn to see what was the difference between DJ and Disco music.  I have to admit that I wasn’t saddened when disco had died 40 years previously, but the techno music the DJ was playing, did start to make me nostalgic for those good old days.  We finished our drinks and left.

We went back to my apartment and took turns being the DJ on the boom box Maria had brought me.  It was about 2 in the morning, but my upstairs neighbors are noisy night owls, so I wasn’t worried about keeping them awake.  We blasted the music, until we were finally too tired to stay awake.

The next morning we went back to New York for Marianne’s Christmas Party.  The rain had stopped.  The roads were clear, and we made it in 3 fun-filled hours, while listening to the best of the ‘60s on Sirius Radio.

Marianne and her husband Tres always have a great Christmas Party every year, but this year it was even better than usual.  Bob, the piano player, always makes it special and is ready to play any song we want to sing.  Bob played at their wedding and has been a staple at their parties ever since.  Marianne, Maria, Geralyn, and I were all drinking our Las Vegas drink of choice, Geralynis, made with Champagne, Peach Schnappes, and Peach nectar.  Sabrina wasn’t there as she had gone back to Chicago by this time, but she was there with us in spirit, and we were certainly soaked in spirits.

The party ended about an hour before I had to catch the Long Island Railroad to Penn Station to catch the Amtrak back to Lancaster.  Marianne’s son Will stayed up to make sure I woke up on time to catch my 5:04 a.m train.  Will had to work the next day, so he couldn’t have gotten more than an hour’s sleep.  I want to extend a big Thank You to Will for that.

By 10 a.m. I was back in Lancaster, just before it began to snow.  I set up my new Christmas tree as I watched the snow coming down for the first time since I’ve been in Lancaster.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

Happy Holidays to all my friends and family.

Peace & Love, and all of the above,