When I get older losing my hair,
Many years from now,
Will you still be sending me a valentine
Birthday greetings bottle of wine?
Doing the garden, digging the weeds,
Who could ask for more?
Will you still need me, will you still feed me,
When I’m sixty-four?
And so, the Beatles sing on, but via iTunes now — and we remember ‘when’.
Who woulda thunk that 24 years ago I’d be playing in a rock ‘n roll band with someone who actually had a conversation with Jim Morrison? Or that 28 years ago, I’d be living in sunny Hawaii and spending winter birthdays on Waikiki with my old grade school chum? Or that 34 years back, I would be living in Colorado and skiing powder with my favorite lady engineer for my birthdays? In fact, 35 years back, I was the lucky recipient of a sled for a snowy birthday in Nebraska — though I left it under our Christmas tree to fly home to Texas and see the folks.
What a lucky person to have had Worldwide Birthdays, as I have. Let’s see, there have been celebrations in Marietta, GA – Indianapolis, IN – Paris, France – Santa Fe, NM – Waipahu, HI – Colorado Springs and Monument, CO – Omaha, NE – Columbus and Savannah, GA – Copperas Cove and College Station, TX – Dallas and Austin, TX – Victoria, TX. Celebrations with family, both close and distant kin. And celebrations with friends of all sizes, flavors and colors. Sometimes the celebrations were more imaginary, in a crowded coffee shop just watching busy shoppers come and go.
The first birthday celebration sixty-four years ago was in San Antonio, TX at the Santa Rosa Hospital, reputed to be built over one of the funeral pyres of the Alamo Defenders. This bit of history has always made me feel special that the Santa Rosa is where I ‘discovered America’. I have looked back at faded photographs of that cold December in 1946, my dad holding his first child and grinning ear to ear. My grandmother was there when I was born, also — and I was named for her. My father left us shortly after I turned 32 and my grandmother joined him the year I was 53.
And so, When I’m Sixty-Four there will be a great celebration. I shall light all of the candles on my cake and watch them burn down into the icing and sputter away their brief light. In the candle light, I will be remembering special birthday gifts from special people through the years — on my 5th birthday, my father gave me a piano, and for my 7th, I received from him my very first diamond ring.
My first real sweetheart (now gone) gave me a puppy for my 16th birthday! My husband (now gone) gave me a black kitten on my 23rd birthday, and a motorcycle when I turned 25 (and promptly busted the front fender showing me how to do wheelies). A very dear friend (now gone) took me to see Camelot for my birthday one year, and she gave me ice-skating lessons at the Broadmoor, too! Another special gift was my first campfire pit, which we fondly called “Camp Suz” — and that friend is gone also.
There have been lovely cards and letters from friends through the years. And flowers — mostly yellow roses (as in The Yellow Rose of Texas). Candy, too — like my favorite pink peanut patties, a Texas gourmet delicacy. Books and Scotch. Movies and coffee. Perfume and dancing shoes. Frilly lingerie and power tools.
Ah, the pleasures of birthdays and those we celebrate them with.
So let me now go find the match to light these candles …