Marie's Birthday, 2011
Sometimes, for those of us with a melancholy disposition, a February birthday isn’t an unalloyed joy. This year, as mine comes around, I’m old enough to know I had better pay attention to the good times.
This year, I was looking forward to seeing a special friend on my birthday. Let's call her Pam. She was coming to town—and I and others of her old friends were truly looking forward to her arrival. She’s one of those people whose wit and humor, whose willingness to play, carries any party along.
Life, however, intervened. She isn’t coming. Like many charismatic people, she’s manic, living through huge ups and downs. We understand. However, her absence left us at loose ends in what was supposed to be a cheerful mini-reunion. You need friends around for a good celebration. As the Beatles observed: “We get by with a little help from our friends.” If loss, distance or just a bout of depression keeps them away, a birthday may end up being kind of depressing.
I’m still here and it’s a year later, but so what? Who is by my side cheering me on with a big “Go you?”
Who will eat cake with me or laugh and caper around to The Safety Dance?
Well, okay, my husband is still taking me to a special lunch at one of our local breweries. Here in the German part if PA we are well supplied with new, good ones. They have many varieties of beer and some nice dinner plates and all kinds of bar snacks. My favorite is a local bratwurst, which comes with red kraut and horseradish-y potato salad, which seems the exactly right accompaniment for a draft. A special new friend will come along with us, one with her own life-time fund of stories to share.
And then there are my sons. They can’t be here in person, but they are kind enough to call and send presents and all that good stuff we do on family birthdays. I appreciate the attention, because, as the pop poet said, “it’s a drag when you’re rejected” and most especially a drag when the rejector is your own kid.
So most of what’s happening will be on the plus side. And, actually, it’s quite a lot. I’m well fed (!), reasonably healthy for my age, more or less secure, and still breathing. That I don’t get the bubbly fun of that senior version of girl’s night out shouldn’t be a total buzz kill. Still, all of us will miss our friend. It was a chance to laugh together one more time, a thing that the obits in the daily paper remind us should not be lightly passed by.
So there’s regret, but it’s not going to be a spoiler. Here I am, in my seventies, still relearning the lesson of one day at a time.
“I will make this day a happy one, for I alone can determine what kind of day it will be.”
See All my historical novels at: