I had the chance to see two birthday parties in the last 24 hours.
One the lady was turning 65 and she was the queen of the day. The other is turning 100 and she was overwhelmed.
They are very different women. The first lady invited a man she didn’t know who was looking at her in her birthday cake crown to the party. He declined. It was a mix and mingle who the only thing they had in common was that they knew the lady who was celebrating her birthday.
The second lady was surrounded by people in the community who knew her mostly from being the lunch lady at the elementary school most of us attended.
Everyone knew everyone. Hugs were exchanged. Old times were being spoken of. When it was my turn to speak to the lady who sneaked me extra food when I was little. She and another lady would tell me to go over to where we emptied our trays and they would have me a little extra something they were serving that day. Ms. Emma (who everyone called Granny) and Ms. Vella who is celebrating her birthday today, always looked after us, in their own way.
This lady is also my neighbor. When I got up to her in the line, I knew to yell at her. She can’t hear well at all. She asked if I ever stayed at home. Every time she comes by my house I am never at home. I told her that I stay pretty busy. She said I told my daughter that I don’t need a party. I am too old for that.
She spoke to my parents. She lived in the same house she does now when my dad was a small boy. She loves to tell me stories about when my dad was a small boy.
As I think about how I saw these two parties play out, I thought about if I should live to be that old.
I only half jokingly say that I will have to hire mourners for my funeral. I don’t plan for tomorrow because I know we are only here on borrowed time. So, should I live to be 100 throw a party. Bring in the people I love, the snot nosed kids who needed someone to just be nice to them, those who I might have made some small difference in their lives. Hopefully, there will be hugs passed around on that day too.