The Other Side of Sixty
Good morning, from the other side of 60! Truly, it's a good place to be...better than the alternative, as my Daddy was fond of saying. Of course he never admitted to making it to 40 much less 60, since when asked how old he was, he always said he was 39 and holding!
We started my special day off early...at 4:00 a.m. Hadn't meant to get up quite that early, but Elmo decided he needed "Hop on Pop" time at that hour, the Good Lord knows why. (That's what we call it, when one or more of the dogs takes a notion to climb up on Mr. T while he is sleeping...or trying to sleep. Hop on Pop, indeed.)
We had set our alarm for 5:00 a.m. in order to be able to see the sunrise...which Timeanddate.com said was 6:15 for Greensboro and 6:16 for Winston-Salem. Didn't have a listing for High Point, but since we are about halfway between GSO and WS, we figured 6:15 and 1/2 ought to be about right for planning purposes. Prepped the coffee maker the night before...all we had to do was press ON...and then fill up the thermal go-mugs. Sliced up some zucchini bread...just zap in the microwave and smear some butter. Add a banana...grab our collapsible chairs...cameras...and bug spray and we were good to go. Out of the house and off to Oak Hollow lake by 5:45.
We could not have scripted a better sunrise for my birthday. Barely a cloud in the sky...no hint of the almost-daily rain that we've had for nearly a month. Yes, it was going to be a hot one as mid-July usually is, but at dawn...it was just beautiful. A great beginning for this brand new year.*
We followed dawn's early light by being early birds at our favorite breakfast spot, Tex and Shirley's. Of course, I got country ham with my eggs and pancakes...it is all about my favorite things on this day, don't you know? After all, one of my resolutions includes "Enjoy what you eat; eat what you enjoy. The rest is just noise." Diets and deprivation are no longer part of my life. Good riddance! Spent too many of my years fretting about my weight (a number, only a number) and what I should and should not eat. I'm loving 60 already!
A trip to Home Depot for some supplies and a few plants, then back home to enjoy the deck before it got overheated. Mr. T did a little landscaping while I potted up a couple of hanging baskets of portulacae (moss roses). And what fun would gardening be if you didn't get to enjoy the bounty? Look what was blooming for my birthday bouquet: several red roses, including Chrysler Imperial (the AARS winner for 1953, so I call it "my rose"), Always and Forever, and Mister Lincoln; a couple of pink roses (Friendship, the AARS winner for 1979, so I call it Missy M's rose; and Miss All American Beauty...also known as Maria Callas outside of the USA); a Sheer Bliss rose; some Becky Shasta daisies; white zinnias; and a couple of brightly-colored glads.
Then while Mr. T set up our party pool (a fun 8' x 8' x 27" wader...complete with a lounging bench and cup holders!) so we could cool off later in the day, I moved on to my next birthday-related activity: making a Keepsake Garden Stone. I used a kit that he gave me on Mother's Day to document this special occasion. I tried to think of a phrase that summed me up...and the refrigerator note pad that Momma gave me for my birthday a few years back caught my eye: Perennial Optimist. Yep...guilty as charged. So "Perennial Optimist turns 60" it was.
I mixed the Portland cement with water in a bucket as directed, poured it into the mold provided, and pressed my right hand in as instructed. I was born with crooked little fingers...supposedly the first feature Daddy commented on when he saw me at my birth...so a handprint seemed an appropriate descriptor to document. I used a butterfly stone that came with the kit to represent my love of gardening and nature's beauty, along with a couple of red tiles to represent my ruby (birthstone) ring I wear on my right hand. I raided my shell collection from last year's beach trip (always a favorite vacation spot and activity) for as many "butterfly" shells as I could include. And then I looked through Aunt Eloise's Lincoln head penny collection (that I inherited from my Uncle Smiley Keaton) and found one from 1953. Huzzah! Just what this memory stone needed! Here's a picture of the finished project...it has to cure in the mold for three days...see what you think.
A dip in a cool pool is just what this 95-degree day needed. Ahhhh...yes, I believe I will have another glass of the Biltmore Estates Riesling, thank you dear. While we are chillin', the steaks can be grillin'.
And how what is the perfect ending for a perfect milestone day? Why, cake of course! Chocolate cake. Look what Mr. T made...possible:
Found those soccer ball candles...thought they'd be good stand-ins for beach balls on this beach-themed beauty. Six of 'em...one for each decade.
[Some regular readers may wonder if this day I've described isn't a tad dull...at least lacking in the Adventure department. True, it doesn't hold a candle (ahem) to Mr. T's 60th (trip to Maui, sunrise at 10,000 feet on the Haleakala volcano, etc.), but I got to celebrate with him...so the "been there, done that" T-shirt fits. I do have Adventures I want to do, but they mostly involve extra-long flights, the International Dateline, and the need for healthy knees for lots of walking activities...think Australia and New Zealand. And, a week of vacation from work (that's 5 whole days, you know) just won't do that Adventure justice. So, instead of trying to accelerate that Adventure to fit the milestone, I'd rather make a wonderful homemade memory...and put the South Pacific on simmer for a bit longer.]
Perfect day. Perfect memory. Perfect cake. Now, fire up those candles...and hand me a knife!
*Brand new year — I advise my coaching clients to save up making New Year's resolutions until their birthdays...since it truly represents a new year for each of us. Am taking my own advise...and will post more on this subject in the coming weeks.