Monday, February 22, 2016

They say it's your birthday

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.”

~~Juliet Waldron
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Ginger Jones Simpson said...

Marie sounds like my kind of friend...wish I had one. I used to have tons but since moving to TN haven't made any except virtual pals like you, whom I cherish. People bad mouth social media...but without my friends there I'd be one lonely gal. I just need to steer clear of politics and memes, and stick to being social. *lol*

Juliet Waldron said...

Yes, without the internet, we'd all be pretty lonely, us desk jockeys--at least a lot of us. There's social writer types, but I'm not one either.

I should have named the no-show--at least given her a fictional first name--I was groping for a birthday party picture--slim on the ground these days-and remembered a long ago party at Hotel Hershey which Marie gave for her 70--used her pic, that's all.

Kathy Fischer-Brown said...

I hope you, Chris and your new friend enjoyed the local brew and brats. And for one having only recently crossed the seventies threshold, you are a fun old crone with many more birthdays to celebrate:-)

Juliet Waldron said...

Cackle-- :)

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