Charlie’s Birthday Weekend
Nothing is more discomforting than having your husband turn 69 and not being able to get out of the house to purchase a present, or even a card. What’s a girl to do? Pull something out of your hat! Quick!
I called my friend Laura and asked if she and her 2nd grade daughter could come over for dinner. “By the way, can you bring pizza?” I asked. She did. After dinner Charlie read the little girl some stories and she fell asleep on the guest bed.
For the adults, to bed and falling to sleep should be next step. But no, we had to engage in a discussion (a mixture of parenting, politics and bible based church dogma) that lasted until 1 AM. Charlie, the wise almost 69 year old went to bed. Laura and I were quite rummy from the late hour already but decided in that late night early morning state to have a “wee shot of whiskey”. The shots were very small as they from the little jam and jelly jars that we saved from the advent calendar. We thought these shots were about 1/3 the amount in a regular 1 oz shot glass. Laura thought we should have a chaser so down they went with a swig of Shasta lemon lime soda. (later we discovered the little jars held the same as a shot)
As with all late night shot drinking conversations, we passed through the stages of “see it doesn’t even affect me” to “omg everything you do or say is hysterically funny,” to ”I want to tell you my deepest darkest secrets but I am just not drunk enough” to “ now I am sappy cry a little.“
I must have gone over the edge with one comment because about 4 am, Laura abruptly stood up from her comfortable lounging on the Blue Couch and announced:
I AM GOING.
I replied: Ok I’ll help you get the little miss to the car.
No way am I driving, I am going to go and lay down with her.
And she did. She slept in, and as she slept I developed more of the birthday plan and I wanted to get him in the pickup and on the road for his birthday surprise. She looked like she had been to hell and back, stretched out on the Blue Couch and said “advil please. 3 or four please. I made some breakfast for all and tried to move my friend along. Soon it was noon and I wanted us to be on our way.
I actually did develop a couple more ideas for Charlie’s birthday. One was to drive to Yakima and eat lunch at the legendary “Miner’s” a hamburger joint. I had also asked a squad of people to text or call Charlie between 2 and 4 pm. He was driving when the phone started ringing. I suddenly had the urge TO DRIVE. At this point I don’t think Charlie had caught on. He pulled the truck over and we exchanged positions. Light traffic on the interstate allowed me to cruise along without too much anxiety. But I was anxious none-the-less. I saw the exit sign and decelerated, finally having to ind the brake pedal with my numb foot.
Plowed snow lined the streets, was piled up car height at the driveways, and filled the far reaches of the parking lots. I saw an opening in the walls of snow and turned in so we could switch drivers.
The Miner’s parking lot was just a block away. We went inside and looked at the menus posted on the walls facing the customerless lobby. I had never seen it like this.
I peeked at my phone while we were waiting and I saw my high school friend Karen, who I saw once in the past 40 years, was on messenger. So, I messaged. Within five minutes the birthday plan had a new twist. Dinner was to be eaten at a restaurant Zillah called THE WAREHOUSE. And there was entertainment. On Saturday night while the customers enjoyed a great tasting prime rib, they also were entertained by a live furniture auction. I am not kidding. Karen and her husband, Charlie and I had a marvelous time. We won’t wait another 40 years to see each other.
So from humble beginnings of pizza and politics came a birthday Charlie will remember.
Thanks, God, for easy pleasers.