Drink 37: Blue Hawaiian

The Date: July 25, 2012

The Friend: Hannah McLaughlin (Little Hannah)

The Place: Murphy’s Taproom

The Drink: Blue Hawaiian

Hannah Mcl

The Story: In the past year and a half, some of the coolest things I’ve done, I’ve done with my cousin Hannah. It might have been at Christmas in 2011 that she said to me, “there’s a music class that I want to take that I think you should take with me: they’re teaching ukulele…every Monday night…at a bar.”

I’m pretty sure my response was, “well that sounds just about ridiculous enough to be right.” So we signed up and spent the winter and spring of 2012 playing ukulele in the back room of a local Irish bar. She already had some experience with the ukulele – and remains much better than me – but I bought a bright green model off of Amazon that felt just the right amount of silly for the occasion.

Hannah is 12 years younger than me and, while I’ve always adored her – and sort of always thought we could be friends – we lacked a common denominator (aside from our last name) or the shared experience to facilitate it. Plus, at family functions, there are enough other people in each of our age brackets to make developing a friendship beyond our cousinship something that we’d have to do consciously.

I don’t think it was ever overtly conscious but, after hanging together once a week for several months, that’s just what happened. After class almost every week, we’d pack our ukes back into their cases, wander out to the front room of the bar and grab a drink together. We’d talk about work, about family goings on, about our social lives, about our lack of romantic lives. One common denominator we realized we did share was either bad luck or bad taste in men as we had both survived a couple of spectacularly awful relationships. And sitting bellied up to that bar, we couldn’t imagine why two such smart, talented, good looking, funny and all around fabulous women like us couldn’t find love. (Disclaimer: neither of us would describe our own selves that way, but we each described the other as such. 😉 )

A funny thing happened that spring: we each began dating men worthy of catches like us.

They always say it happens when you least expect it and, for those people who are looking for it, it’s tough to determine at which point you’re least expecting it. The learned “they” also say to keep busy and have fun in the meantime and that’s just what we were doing with our ukulele sessions. So, whether ukulele lessons were the cause or the effect, they seemed to do the trick.

I know I was just happy doing my ‘thang and spending time with my friends, which is exactly what I was doing the night “he” walked into my life.

I paid Hannah back at Christmas the following year by inviting her to a new class I had recently found: aerial circus. I thought it was an appropriately absurd follow up to our ukulele adventure. It’s just like you’ve seen in Cirque du Solieil – people defying gravity, physics and the mechanics of the human body on two silk ribbons hanging from the ceiling. It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but so much fun and so incredibly rewarding. Even as a relative beginner, there are things that we can do that are simply amazing. Hannah, for one, can climb to the top of those 20-foot silks using nothing but her hands and feet. (I’m still working on the strength to do that, but I’m getting closer!) Plus, (sneaky, sneaky), it’s another great reason to hang with Hannah on a weekly basis!

I can’t wait to see what we’ll come up with for 2014! Christmas is coming!

Blue HawaiianThe Drink: Clearly, our drink had to take place at Murphy’s, since that was the scene of the crime for many months. The drink, though, is a bit of an off-note for an Irish bar: a Blue Hawaiian. We thought it was a fitting tribute to our ukulele lessons and something Tiny Tim would approve of as he tiptoed through the tulips.

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