Viva la tiki lounge

Four years ago I became acquainted with some very special people through an invitation-only wine club (which I blogged about in March 2009's Wine Club). We first met at the "Tiki Lounge" - the basement of the wine club organizer's house. There were 8 of us initially, ranging in ages from 21 to 51. Over the years, we got to know each other well, even as we went through some of life's changes: Two more of us passed the half-century mark. There was a wedding (and we got a ninth member). There were a couple of moves. There were job changes, and unemployment. One of us retired. Another experienced a breakup that involved a lot of drama. (Fortunately, the person who caused the drama was not a member of our wine club.) These are just a few of the things we went through.

Throughout all this, there was the Tiki Lounge. This fun, special place was decorated in the style of a Polynesian/Caribbean themed bar, with neon palm trees, sunset scenes, seashells, and a general Margaritaville feel to it. Kitschy, yes - but it was purposefully designed to be a happy place, where you could just sit back and relax with friends. The only thing serious about it was the way it brought people together.

Sure, we didn't always have wine club in the Tiki Lounge. And the Tiki Lounge was often for other events. I learned how to weave a basket in the Tiki Lounge. I played guitar in the Tiki Lounge: both Guitar Hero (or was it Rock Band?) guitar and real acoustic guitar. I hung with my "Sistahs" in the Tiki Lounge. I sang karaoke in the Tiki Lounge. I listened, debated, reasoned, laughed, and maybe even cried a time or two in the Tiki Lounge. And I ate LOTS of food, including some food I would never eat anywhere else, such as hot dogs and other highly processed products of unknown content and origin. (Just goes to show that I, too, will eat whatever's available when I'm hungry enough.)

It just so happens that our Tiki Lounge friend is the one who is retiring -- and she is planning to sell her house and relocate elsewhere. Alas, the Tiki Lounge is about to be dismantled. Quite possibly, we had our last gathering in the Tiki Lounge last night. I don't know yet. What I do know is that the Tiki Lounge will be missed! Viva La Tiki Lounge!

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