What is almost a century of birthdays?
June 13th, 2019 is a unique and profound day in my life; I realized, almost suddenly that I am looking at life from almost a century of perspective. 98, this birthday was filled with gratitude, excitement, love and intermingled with incredible family happenings – a graduation, a wedding and a whole bunch of important activities. My youngest granddaughter graduated from high school and we were involved in all the attendant activities of such a major event in a young life. Today, June 15th, my oldest granddaughter is getting married in her very own awesome, unique Kera Tucker way. She and her soul mate are rock climbers, love the outdoors and are getting married at the base of the mountains where there is no cell phone or Wi-Fi service. I’m just so sorry I will not be able to attend.
On June 9th, I celebrated my coming birthday with my church family. It was filled with the love, faith and friends that I treasure. We shared cake, memories, prayers and reminded each other of how much our community of a Christian gathering means to all of us. It was very special. That afternoon was filled with celebration of Cassidy, our new graduates graduation party. Her graduation date was June 5th. On Wednesday June 12th, Cassidy had her Senior Presents of the National Charity League. The young ladies are honored for all of their service and community work from junior high to their senior year.
Cassidy and Hailey decided they wanted to celebrate my birthday by having breakfast before they left for Kera’s wedding, June 15th. Colin made a surprise visit from Palm Springs that morning to have breakfast with us and then left immediately afterward to go back to Palm Springs for work. But I was grateful that he could join us. Hailey and Cassidy and Hailey’s friends Luke departed for Kera’s wedding afterward. Much of the day was filled with greetings, cards and the enjoyment of many beautiful flower bouquets. Kim and Bob and I had a birthday dinner that evening. That finished the birthday celebrations.
They left Friday morning for the wedding near Bishop, California. Now they are all getting ready today for the big event, Kera and Nick’s wedding. Kera’s something old will be the same dime that I wore in my shoe at my wedding. I’ll wait for word of the wedding later on this afternoon when they can communicate with me. And the flurry of important events of family and friends will be complete.
It is Saturday, June 15th and I am looking in the rearview mirror of almost a century of birthday’s past. The June gloom cleared away fast this morning. The sky is blue. The birds are out and the trees are swaying gently in the breeze. My California easel is ready to paint the rest of the day. My easel as always is ready for whatever I choose to fill it with. I will continue to paint with the vivid colors that have represented the joy, excitement and happiness of my life and the silver and gold of gratitude and faith. Just think! I have been given 98 birthday easels on which to paint new scenes. I will continue to serve my Creator with gratitude, faith, love and all of the gifts of the spirit given to me. With love and thanks to all who created and helped me celebrate number 98, almost a century of incredible, amazing, awesome opportunities…
Now I want to share the words I wrote on birthdays 92 and 93. They are just as applicable and true at 98.
Ninety-two and counting is a great place to be.
There are so many beautiful memories, so many lessons learned, such opportunity to grow, and the accumulated treasure of family, friends, and faith. What a privilege to watch my America for 92 years. And at 92 what is a birthday like? Do you have pictures of a granny sitting in a rocking chair, rocking the hours away or worse yet, not even able to sit in a rocking chair? Or of a grey-haired figure just staring into space? If so, you really sell us short?
The sun is up early on these days, these long, beautiful days in June. I imagine my mother was up early in her last days of pregnancy hoping that this would be the day when she would be able to “see her feet again,” and when she would know whether her daughter, Esther, would have a sister or a brother. And it was June 13, 1921, when Peter and Alvina Boltz welcomed their little girl into this world. It was a beautiful, not-quite-yet-summer day in Iowa.
And 92 years later? What was it like on June 13, 2013, in Bonsall, California? The sun was true to form–it was up early. It was a bright day when the flowers showed their true colors with not even a little distortion from a cloud. The birds were in fine fettle; their songs filled the air with the joyous harmony of the many in the bird choir. I took my usual walk to the end of the driveway. The gratefulness of the scene was overwhelming. My prayers were those of gratitude. The good fortune of where I have the privilege of living, the quick parade of memories of 92 years, and the day before me that would end in a School Board meeting in the evening were all things to be viewed with an attitude of gratitude.
The day was filled with calls, cards, flowers, e-mail greetings and ice-cream cake.
Getting an electronic greeting card from my multi-faceted diamond friend brought the technology advances over the years into sharp images. The notes and cards were much as they have been through the years. The telephone calls much the same in content, but the instruments and technology were vastly different.
As I was finishing the e-card, I received a call from my oldest granddaughter, Kera. She is the one in the family who is always asking me what it was like when I was a little girl. After singing Happy Birthday and giving all the well wishes, the conversation turned to canning. She is getting ready to start graduate school and plans to have a garden at the home she is renting. Did I help my mother can, she queried? She wanted to can the excess fresh vegetables, and she wanted to know how to make watermelon pickles; sounded strange, she said That may have been the last question in the world that I expected in 2013 on my 92nd birthday.
Flowers are always welcome visitors in my home. The bouquet from Britt and Diane in Oregon is beautiful–filled with flowers that I love. Fewer things and more flowers are appreciated at 92, particularly when your home is filled with beautiful things they have given you over the years.
And the dinner of my choice for my birthday from Bob, Kim, Hailey and Cassidy who live next door, had to be delayed until Saturday since the School Board meeting was scheduled for the same day as my birthday.
The School Board meeting was filled with issues, concerns and the joy that comes with the end of the school year. The normal concern that comes while dealing with important issues was mitigated by the gratitude that I felt that my community just elected me to serve a fifth four-year term. It doesn’t get better than that. The fact that I have been given the privilege of serving on three boards at 92, one corporate, one church, one education, deserves my utmost gratitude to my Creator. The love of family and friends continues to fill my days with joy.
My day ended with a call from my grandson, Colin, who is in Oregon for the summer working at a golf club in Bend, Oregon. It was late when I got home from the Board meeting; Colin’s sunny voice on the recording machine brought a smile to my face. It was too late to call him back. When I call him back tomorrow, the sunny voice will just extend my birthday greetings to another day.
Ninety-two and counting is a great place to be.
Yesterday was number 93. I found out that like everyday of my life, the next day would be tomorrow and the day before was yesterday. ‘
I found each time I have breakfast with friends that the day has a good beginning. Thank you, Terry and Tom. Friends are such fragile, strong, beautiful, colorful threads in the tapestry of one’s life.
I found that the words of my grandchildren were precious golden bricks on my yellow brick road. “Grandma, thank you for teaching me compassion, strength, faith, and grace. You have touched my life in countless ways.” “You have taught me so much. I will remember all you taught me and use it in my life.” And on the front of one card is a quote from Marcus Aurelius: When you arise in the morning, think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love. “I know you already do this every day. Thank you for reminding those around you to do the same. We are lucky to have such a wonderful, loving, and wise soma in our lives.” “I love you” are magic words. What wonderful, golden bricks!
Yes, I believe we all have a yellow brick road that is our very own. And yes, I believe we are given everything we need to make the journey. The roadmap is there at our birth; so are the detours if we miss a sign or fail to heed a warning signal. Just to reach 93 carries its own gratefulness. To be given so many years to follow dreams, to wake up in the morning with more opportunities to make a difference to someone is quite a privilege. It gets sweeter every year. The bricks become brighter.
Yesterday the dome above me was so blue. The breezes were so gentle. The palm fronds graced the sky with special beauty. The flowers were especially bright and welcoming. The music that filled the air from the birds that love my place as much as I do, was special. They must have known it was my birthday.
I found you only know the sky is blue if you look at it. I found you only know the birds are singing if you listen. I found you only appreciate the miracles God places in your path if you acknowledge the wonders of nature. You only know how much the little green nubbins on the orange trees have grown if you looked at them yesterday or the day before. And if you have forgotten that they came from the fragrance of the orange blossoms that graced your path earlier, you have forgotten too much.
I found the lovely voices of my nieces were as welcoming and beautiful as they have always been. They transmitted the same love and joy as they always have. I found that my gratefulness increases very year.
I found the well-wishes and love of friends grows sweeter very year.
I found the voice of my sons saying, “Happy Birthday, Mom,” filled with the memories of the same greeting over the years. I found the memory bank filled with the tiny voices of excited children with a special present for Mommy, to the changing voices of teen-agers. young men, and now the gentle voices of those watching over their Mom.
It’s great to have the privilege of living, loving, sharing, and anticipating at 93. Thank you, Lord for being by my side and for letting such wonderful people inhabit my path.