How My 30th Birthday Plans Got Effed Up & I Ended Up at a Winery – Part II

A quick recap for those of you who have slept since my last post:

  • I went to the ballet with a stranger’s girlfriend.
  • I had dinner with said stranger’s girlfriend, her boyfriend, and their free-spirited friends.
  • I was on my way back home when I decided to make a pitstop somewhere. 

Aaand continue…

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My Favorite Shipping Container

I had just parked my car in downtown Tulsa and was walking to a really cool outdoor mall called The Boxyard (it’s a two-story, modern-looking complex built entirely out of old shipping containers). I snaked through the mall until I found my favorite men’s clothing store, East + West, and walked inside and took in its earthy, minimalist interior. Ahh, I forgot how much pleasure this place gives my eyes.

I browsed around and ultimately caved into to my human desires and purchased an oakmoss candle ($16) and a roll-on stick of cologne called the Roamer ($20). It was my birthday after all. AND it was also Cinco de Mayo! Which meant that any purchases made today qualified for a free shot of Tito’s tequila, and since I purchased two items I qualified for two free tequila shots. Uh, hell yeah! But I still had an hour and a half to drive home so I just accepted the one.

I downed my smooth tequila then chatted with the cashier for a bit. I told her she reminded me of Winston’s girlfriend from New Girl, to which she said that’s all she’s ever wanted to hear, and laughing, said that she was hilarious like Winston’s girlfriend. I think she batted her eyes or something.

Then these four guys walked into the store, and one of them happened to be the owner of the store, Ben. They were all in their late 20s/early 30s and had been doing some day drinking and were making a pit stop here before their next destination, whatever that’d be. Ben said hi to me while a guy named Sean casually introduced himself and shook my head. They gathered around me/the register to chat with their cashier friend.

I decided to stay and listen as they told some of the most hilarious stories ever. I watched Ben try to fit a 13-inch MacBook in an 11-inch backpack that he was selling at the store — he got it in, then Ben declared a round of Tito’s and asked if I wanted a shot. Uh, yes! But I said no in reality because I had to stay smart. Though, I seriously consider tagging along with them to their next destination and wondered what kind of regretable adventures might happen… But I stuck to my gut and eventually left, bidding them a safe and fun night.

How the Winery Came into the Picture

I left East + West energized and decided to roam around downtown to help burn off the tequila. After making random left and right turns, and passing waves of people primped for the night, I ended up at the Center of the Universe landmark where there was a Hispanic family taking pictures. I approached them and asked to take their pic and snapped a few pics on their mom’s iPhone. Then my own phone went off.

I got a text from my buddy, Yuchao. He said he had to cancel the hike because he realized he had early evening plans that could spill into the day. I was actually okay with this because this exact thought crossed my mind earlier (if he were to cancel) and so I had a backup plan in mind! I told Yuchao no worries! then raced to text my other buddy Ben to see if he’d be up for a winery instead of hiking.

He was totally down for this because the winery was much closer located to his current location — Woodward, OK, where a film that he wrote/directed/starred in was being showcased at the Twister Alley Film Festival. Now he wouldn’t have to drive 3 hours to meet me, just 1. The winery was also sentimental to us because we attended a friend’s wedding reception 4 years ago and liked it so much we talked about coming back, but never did. Now was our chance. And so the future was set, once again.

A Beautiful Morning with Old Friends

The next morning, I met up with Yuchao at a coffee shop so he could give me a present: a box of Tokyo Banana that he picked up recently in Japan. I decided to put my sugar & gluten-free rules aside for a second and try out one of these bananas (there are 8 in a box). I chewed it and let the outer sponge-cake layer dissolve it in my mouth… then I could taste the cold banana puree in the center. Not bad! Tasted just like a normal banana to me.

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Then I drove an hour and a half up north to Enid, Oklahoma, where I had lunch plans with Ben and my friend from college, Kristine, and her husband Nick. We met at a Mexican restaurant called Cafe Garcia (literally the only place open on a Sunday in Enid) and overindulge in carbs and good salsa and caught up, marveling at the fact that none of us had really aged in 4 years. We later tried recreating our favorite photo from Kristine’s wedding:

 

 

After lunch, Kristine and her husband left so Ben and I decided to do a little sightseeing around town. It was fun at first until we realized we were THE ONLY PEOLE IN TOWN. You could literally hear a swing creaking somewhere and if you looked hard enough you could see a tumbleweed blowing by…

So we quickly left and, deciding to carpool to the winery, hopped into my car and I drove us some 20-30 minutes until we arrived at Indian Village Wine Creek.

Returning to the Winery From Long Ago

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I pulled into a small gravel parking lot and saw a few cars, hoping there’d be more people showing up later. Ben and I walked into the main building and only saw two people: an old man at the bar and the guy working the bar, Scott, who was also the owner of the winery and looked like Vladmir Putin, but wore a goofy grin and talked in a slow manner.

We approached Scott and asked him for his best wine. After trying many samples, we ordered a red that we really like (don’t remember which one) then took our bottle and wine glasses outside and sat at a table overlooking the winery. We poured ourselves wine and spent some time catching up as a scheduled musician began playing.

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The crowd had picked up. A short time had passed then Ben told me there were two pretty girls sitting on the other side of the venue. I leaned back in my chair pretending to stretch and I saw a blonde and a brunette, both wearing some nice dresses. We nicknamed the blonde “Rockstar” since she had 80’s rockstar hair and called the brunette “Brunette/The Hot One”. Scott later told us he heard they were divorced.

We finished our first bottle of wine and since the temperature was rising outside we ordered a cold bottle of Chardonnay, which ended up being our favorite wine from Indian Village Winery.

Kendall's 30th Birthday in Enid-4

Of course, I became more tipsy and fun as I drank the Chardonnay and I had a sudden urge to be seen by the girls and everyone in general, so I grabbed Ben’s nice camera (a $1,000+ DSLR camera) and walked up the musician and started snapping pictures, pretended like I was a badass professional photographer on the side. The musician saw me and said through the mic:

“Uh-oh, he’s taking pictures. What do I do?”
“Nothing!” I shouted. “Pretend like I’m not here!”
“Kay…” He strummed along.
“Yes! Perfect! Just like that.”
I snapped many different pics from many different angles but I didn’t realize that the camera was set to manual so every picture I was taking was out of focus. But I owned it and I’m sure everyone believed I was taking the best photos ever.

I went back to our table then Ben looked at the photos and laughing, showed me the blurry photos I took. I laughed also and we went back to chatting and sipping wine. During this time, the Rockstar and Brunette had switched tables and moved closer to ours but had their backs towards us.

Ben decided to walk around the grounds to take some pictures and when he returned I also wanted to explore, so I took my glass of wine with me and looked around.

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I came across a beautiful, calm pond and took a pic with my phone then moved to the vineyard and walked through an aisle of grape vines and strolled around leisurely, not caring about the time in the world… Then I headed back towards the main building and saw a dirt road leading into the woods. Hmmm, I was curious to see where it led so I walked up the road sipping my wine, and I found it relaxing to just hear my footsteps and cicadas singing in the background.

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I quickly lost interest in the road and decided it’d be more fun to see what was in the forest! So I set my wine glass down on the road (afraid that a bear could smell it) and walked off the path and into the tall grass, taking giant steps, and through the forest until I came across a beautiful, two-story cabin.

It looked like a family lived there but I didn’t see any cars, and it was so pretty that I just had to take a picture of it so I whipped out my phone and unlocked my screen, but my screen showed me a black & white picture of a cord going into the phone. NOOOOO! It was dead! Why, God, whyyyy?!! 

I stood there for a minute and took my own mental picture then turned around and walked back to the main road and was happy to see my wine glass right where I left it. I had been gone from the winery for like 45 mins or an hour, and when I returned Ben wondered where the hell I had been! I told him all about my little adventure, then we poured ourselves our third and last bottle of wine, another Chardonnay, and sipped on that until it was time to close.

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Ben and I went to tab out and since we were feeling super friendly, we engaged in a conversation with Scott and really got to know him. He was telling us a story about how he convinced his girlfriend-at-the-time/now-wife to move from Texas to Oklahoma, when the Brunette/The Hot One walked in and asked for her tab. Ben, being the extroverted and charismatic man that he is, hit on her as she signed her bill, then she leaned forward and told me she liked my watch. I held my wrist up and said matter-of-factly, “Yeah. It is a nice watch”, then went back my conversation with Scott. Aaaaand that’s as far as it went.

Ben and I left the winery and hopped into my car, and I slowly backed into a tree, thinking I had more space between my bumper. Don’t worry, I wasn’t drunk because I was able to get Ben SAFELY back to his car and myself SAFELY back to my house! The next day at work was horrible, though, since I had IBS. All the sugar vs. the alcohol really upset my stomach and made for a really looong Monday. But it was all worth it.

As I write this blog many weeks later, there’s a Japanese saying that comes to mind to help me reflect on this whole weekend: ichi-go ichi-e. I discovered this term from the book The Art of Gathering, which explained it like this: “We could meet again, but you have to praise this moment because in one year, we’ll have a new experience, and we will be different people and will be bringing new experiences with us, because we are also changed.” Or as the author Priya Parker put it another way, “one meeting, one moment in your life that will never happen again.”

That’s how that whole weekend was. It was something so unique, something that shouldn’t have even happened, that I’m glad everything worked out the way it did. Even if all the other alternative “Kendall’s 30th birthday” events were more adventurous than this, I wouldn’t want them. I’d only want this one. So to that I won’t say happy birthday… but will instead say happy ichi-go ichi-e. 🙂

– Kendall

All high-quality photos in this blog were taken by Ben Richardson. Check out his photography @ benrichardsonactor.com.

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