My co-worker Bill loves this story, so here we go:
We had my father's 65th birthday party at El Paseo in Mill Valley, with 20 of his oldest and closest friends. Instead of a huge party, my dad just wanted a really personal dinner and the whole thing was perfect. My father's impromptu "Don't fuck with my Medicare" speech will go down as one of the most tear-filled, emotional and hilarious speeches of all time.
But I knew it would be perfect when I arrived to cocktail hour in the courtyard to find Diet Coke chilling on ice at the outdoor bar. Just for me. As this is their restaurant, Tolan and Tyler Florence came by and said hello, which was very impressive to the foodies in the crowd. And also a super classy thing to do. My folks' friend Ron and his husband Rick came marching over to meet Tyler.
"It's very nice to meet you." Tyler said.
"Meet me?!?!" Ron beamed, referring to his show. "We spend every Sunday together!"
Tyler's show is on Mondays, but I think Ron must watch reruns on Sunday. I'm not sure, but either way, TyFlo played it cool.
Inside and an hour later as we all had dinner, El Paseo co-owner Sammy Hagar came into the room to say hello. All Sammy Hagar knew was that someone was throwing a private party in the back room. He was a nice guy so he came back to do what my mother would call a "smile and wave." And I am guessing Tolan sent him back, because Tolan is cool like that.
I'm not the slightest bit embarrassed to say this: I allowed my parents and their friends to think I am close, personal, celebrity friends with Sammy Hagar. My perfect brother was there with his beautiful girlfriend. Me, the loud, spinster-sister, arrived alone. But as far as these people knew, at least I am friends with celebrities.
As soon as Sammy walked in, I got up from my table, Euro-kissed him hello like we were old friends, and sensing a celebrity presence, the room fell silent.
"You are so sweet to come by!" I screamed at a stranger, like we'd just had lunch yesterday. "Come say hello to my father. It's his birthday."
22 sets of eyes watched me shove Sammy Hagar towards my thrilled father. In the background, I heard someone whisper the words, "rock and roll singer."
I snapped a quick photo while Sammy Hagar said very nice things like, "Hey, it's my daughter's birthday too."
He was there for about 3 minutes total. As he left, I Euro-kissed him goodbye again, to thrilled stares.
I tilted my head, like he was doing me a personal favor, "You are the sweetest."
Sammy Hagar left, and a now very buzz-filled dinner continued. I took a casual bite of my food, as if to say, "Whatever, everyone. It's cute you think this is a big deal."
But I was so happy. I was the daughter that got Sammy Hagar.
"BETHY!" My beaming father leaned forward from his seat down the table from me, holding a hand up to his friends while he asked me what they all were dying to know.
"He's from the Grateful Dead, right?"