Sunday, November 30, 2008

Happy 60th birthday, Bill Kelly!

Today is a very special day, indeed, as it marks the 60th birthday of blog fan and food lover extraordinaire, Bill Kelly (also known as Alicia's dad). His official celebration started earlier in the week, with beer and fun at the Elmira, NY chapter of the Ancient Order of the Hibernians (50 cent beers! Parties for only $50 + a keg!), but as Mr. Kelly is a celebratory kind of guy, I expect that it will continue on for more than a few days.

In honor of his birthday, here are five of the most entertaining things that I know about Mr. Kelly (although, I'm sure that there are many, many more):

1. Born and raised in Elmira, Mr. Kelly goes way back with, of all people, Tommy Hilfiger. TH also grew up in Elmira and his first store was there - a jeans shop called "People's Place". Elmira legend has it that Mr. Kelly's mom, Mary Kelly, used her washing machine to help Tommy apply some sort of special treatment to some of his stock. I don't know if that's true or not, but I can attest to the fact that Mr. Kelly tells a really, really great story about TH, or "Hi-Fi", as he calls him.

2. Some people have skills on the grill. And some people not only have skills, but also have the personality and gumption to be truly daring when it comes to grilling. Mr. Kelly happens to fall into group #2. Known as the "unofficial grillmaster of Keuka Lake" (where the Kellys have a lake house), he's been known to throw bacon, eggs, hash browns and anything else on the grill, no matter what the weather. And it somehow ends up tasting good.

3. Mr. Kelly is oddly well-versed in video game technology. A few years ago, when we were visiting the lake house, he taught Cooper how to download his own music onto Xbox games. He creates all his own soundtracks. That kind of skill is really useful. In certain circles, at least.
As a mildly food-related correlary, at the time, Mr. Kelly's favorite song was "Candy Shop" by 50 cent. You know, obviously. Because all retired state police officers loooove 50 cent.

4. Despite having grown up in New York, Mr. Kelly hasn't ever been a fan of New York teams. But he is obsessed with Philadelphia sports, especially the Phillies. (He did spend 20 years nearby in Wilmington, DE.) A couple of years ago, he and his brother set out to make that manly pilgrimage that baseball fans love to make: the baseball (and food and beer)-themed road trip. Starting in Cleveland (where they ate hot dogs at the stadium), they then drove on to Baltimore (Boog Powell's BBQ) and finished their odyssey in their adopted athletic home, Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia, where they continued eating healthy and pure with cheesesteaks from Pat's.

5. I'm fairly certain that one day soon, Mr. Kelly's going to be renting himself out as entertainment for parties. He can start with his storytelling skills, move on to DJ and finish up by demonstrating his superior air guitar skills. He even has his own wooden guitar, given to him by a friend, to give his act authenticity.

Mr. Kelly is due back down in Baltimore in a few weeks, to celebrate Christmas with Alicia and Mike and Patrick (Alicia's brother/ one of my favorite local artists). While here, he's planning to take a step up from his standard Baltimore fare (bar food and beer of the, um, less expensive sort), to dine at The Prime Rib. As he put it, "once a year, it's fun to go uptown."

So if you're at The Prime Rib just before Christmas and you see the festive Kelly/Barger family, wish Mr. Kelly a fantastic 60th!


Anonymous said...

what a surprise had a great laugh thanks

Ps there is nothing wrong with cheap beer

Tracy Miller Quinn said...

Anyone who loves Keuka Lake is a-okay by me! Happy Birthday!


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