Monday, May 18, 2009

Happy Birthday, Somebody

Align Center
A Saturday birthday party in the park.

Given the huge number of people in the world (in your country, in your metro area, on my friends list...) and the considerably smaller number of days in the year, it is statistically inevitable that every day is somebody's birthday. Lots of somebodies, in fact. Nearly every evening when I take my dogs to Reid Park, there's at least one obvious birthday party in a ramada area nearby. This is especially true on weekends, of course, and people defer their parties until a day when more people can show up.

A Tuesday birthday party in the park

Growing up, I never had a party in a park. I think I only ever had one birthday party at home that wasn't just my immediate family. It doesn't matter. You can celebrate in a public park, or at Disneyland, or at home, or jumping out of an airplane, or attending a ball game. Whichever celebration you choose, somewhere there are lots of other somebodies doing more or less the same thing.

Eva, turning 103 years old last year.

If you add age into the equation, the calculation changes somewhat. Lots of people turned 16 the same day as you, or 21, or 40 or 50 if you've gotten that far. Not too many people turn 100, though, and the odds drop year by year after that.

Today is my friend Eva's birthday. She is 104 years old today. Her father helped to build the Panama Canal, and her mother wore a whalebone corset. Eva once traveled partway across the Alaska territory by dogsled, while pregnant. She married twice, outlived all but one of her children, and was a nurse until she was in her seventies. My friend Kevin, Father Smith and I are going to see her this afternoon. After all, you're only 104 once!

An April bride in the park, looking like a Faerie Queen

The same sorts of calculations apply to weddings and anniversaries, although a wedding date is subject to considerably more human control than a birthday. Lots of people share even the unlikeliest of wedding and anniversary dates, and lots of people have been married for a year or two, or five, or ten, or even twenty. My own parents made it to 25 years, and broke up shortly thereafter.

A February wedding in the park.

Tomorrow, John and I will have been married for 30 years, which isn't all that much shorter than my parents' and John's parents' marriages combined. My dad's current marriage is longer, since he got the jump on us by two years or so. And I've met people who have been married 40 years or more. But still, 30 years is pretty good, especially when both people are still alive and well, and still getting along with each other!

Luxor and Mandalay Bay Hotels, May 2004.
From the Picasa album Las Vegas 2004

Five years ago, for our 25th anniversary, I talked John into a trip to Las Vegas, the only anniversary trip we've ever made. We had a great time, and took lots of photos with our old Sony Mavica, which stored the images on floppy disks. This year, with me still unemployed, we can't do anything like that. But we will be going to our favorite local restaurant, the midcentury wonder known as Kon Tiki, and two days after that we'll go to our first official Tucson Toros game in over a decade.

And we'll have a good time, even though it won't be our anniversary anymore. It will be somebody's anniversary, and somebody's birthday. We will have been married for 30 years and two days. That's still worth celebrating.


1 comment:

Jama said...

What a coincidence Karen, we're also celebrating our 30th anniversary this 26th May. Happy anniversary to you both.