SIXTEEN CANDLES–PLUS FORTY MORE

Thirty-five years ago today, I stopped to see Gail at work at the Pizza Hut in Osborne. It was Good Friday, and I was driving home from college for Easter weekend. She appeared to be in a rush, but took a few minutes to visit. I could tell she didn’t have much time to chat, so I wrapped it up and went the rest of the way to our farm. She was a busy bee 35 years ago, just like she is now.

She was so busy, so rushed, as a matter of fact, that she forgot to wish me Happy Birthday. I was 21 that day. Suzanne would have been 16, and she probably remembered; I don’t remember that she didn’t. Mom and Dad always remembered, but few other people did. There wasn’t much fun to be had in a small Catholic town on Good Friday for a girl trying to celebrate her 21st birthday, but a few friends and I toasted to my legal status that day. I felt like the main character in the classic movie, Sixteen Candles.

I’ve never let Gail forget that day.

Today, however, is a different story. She hasn’t forgotten that I am 56 years old today. On our way to her home, we stopped in my college town to have lunch at our favorite spot, and we were joined by our dear newlywed friends who found each other later in life, and continue to exemplify the meaning of this very blog. They are still celebrating.

We have been celebrating my birthday all weekend. I am honored to observe my birthday this year on one of the most jubilant days of the year on the Christian calendar: Easter Sunday. We are celebrating that, too.

Celebrating is what we do, even sometimes when there is no occasion. On Saturday of this weekend, we made our own fun in her small town. We went cruising in both town and country in her vintage 1974 Chevrolet Nova, better known as “Lola.”

Gail creates an atmosphere of fun no matter where she is. Lola’s dash is metal, which thrills her because she can adorn it with magnets, just as she has done in Camp Gail, where we take our annual Sister Lode picture.

We met up with their friends at The Lucky Eleven in nearby Ludell,

And did a little car shopping while we were in town.

It should be road-ready in a few weeks.

As always, Gail showered me with a fabulous goodie bag of birthday gifts–she knows what I love.

Suzanne and I will celebrate later; we always do. Today, she is celebrating Easter with her daughter, so she is not with us.

Bonnie and Judy came along, as they like to do when Gail and I are together.

At the end of the day, my husband and I will celebrate my birthday and Easter with our youngest son and his beautiful, delightful new bride of two weeks.

It has been, and will continue to be a great day, I know.

*********

Age is a gift. I am never ashamed to admit my age. Neither is Gail; she proudly wears her 62 years, and will continue to do so. Suzanne doesn’t hesitate to share her over-50 status.

I gave this plaque to Gail a few years ago on her birthday. Such a profound message, no matter who and no matter what the age.

Every sunrise is a gift. Every day is a gift. Every new year we celebrate with a bigger number is a gift. Don’t ever hide that number. Today, mine becomes 56. Whatever yours is, make it a grand celebration.

Happy Easter, and whenever your day is, happy birthday to you.

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