Sometimes weather streams collide in a super storm, sometimes family events collide in a super party.  This happened to us the weekend of May 14 & 15th (Pimp your Clog; The Animals of Beekse Bergen; Climbing the Sint Jan). It is still happening. It will continue into June.

It started with a simple, quiet, family rumor… Oom Jean and Tante Riet would be celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary in May. We would have a party. A quiet, adult-only, family dinner. It sounded lovely, it was lovely. Since Cole will be graduating high school this June, my parents had already decided to come our way early this summer.  They came a little earlier to help celebrate Jeans’ anniversary (my dads older brother, my dad is the baby!).

My parents arrived in Brussels (in Zaventem, still undergoing heavy construction) early on May 13th. We met them at a beautiful, fantabulous, needs-its-own-babble-space, rental house on a farm early Saturday afternoon…. just in time to dress, press a shirt, shine a shoe and put on lipstick. The anniversary party started at 14:30.  I assumed (and you just know I’m going to be so wrong) that it would be simple cocktails, fancy hors-d’oeuvre, chatting, a cake and back “home.”

My mom had stocked the rental house with snacks & drinks for the kids and they happily plugged into the free wi-fi and the 121-channel tv.  I would be home soon, I promised. It won’t be long, I said. I truly believed it would be a great, but early evening.

It was great, but most definitely not early! It may have been near midnight before my cousin Peter drove us back home, onto the farmers terrace, before going back to pick up my parents.  Luckily De Pelikaan (owned by my cousins Arnold and Marleen) is only five minutes from Aan De Watermolen, our rental home. We could have walked. If it wasn’t late. If my feet didn’t hurt. If I hadn’t had one glass too many of delicious wine.

I’d been wrong about a short evening.  It was a great evening, filled with laughter, joy, family and amazing food, and a late evening. You cannot fit in that many conversations, that many courses (we had a 5-course dinner!) and drinks in a short evening. I’m not complaining. It was one of the most delightful, delicious, evenings ever!  My kids… they complained a little.

Shortly after 20:00 the first message came:

“We’re hungry.”
“They’re hungry?” My mom asked amazed.
“They’re hungry.” I replied.

My mom listed all the foods she had bought to stock the rental house: vlaai’s (Vlaai Pie; Hans; One Day Turnaround), breads, meats, cheeses, chips. How could they be out of food?  But they were. The texts got more insistent. Of course, with a couple of glasses of wine to help us along, it made us giggle. The more Cole texted about starvation, the more we giggled.  People got curious. Cousins came over. And finally my cousin Leny said:

“I’ll fix this.” And she texted Sabine, her daughter, the same generation as Cole, Tess and Dane, and owner of the local French Fry shop (it is Holland).  Sabine promptly delivered hot, fresh fries, croquettes and bamischijven (um, I have no idea how to translate this… a cube of breaded, deep-fried, Indonesian noodles?). No more texts from Cole and more fun for us.


The oldest two generations (and the Golden Couples grandchildren, center).


My dad’s sister, Riet’s brother, Tante Riet, Oom Jean (my dad’s brother), my mom, my dad & his oldest sister Annie and her husband Giel.


Two of my cousins: Jean & Pierre


Talkin’ ’bout my g-g-g-generation!


I’m not the lone photographer.


The Golden Couple


My cousin, Marleen (aka Zus), did all the centerpieces. I was in love with the tables, ceilings, everything!


During the course of five courses, and cocktail hour, I accumulated six glasses. I feel like a glutton!


The Grand Finale! Sparkling desert!

De Pelikaan, family-owned, is an absolutely fabulous place to eat! Be sure to set aside a good 2-3 hours and just relax, be pampered and enjoy. Located in the countryside just south of Maastricht, it is a beautiful, perfect, evening out.