Today, the rescued Chilean miners celebrated their first day of freedom by cheerfully donning bathrobes and sunglasses. Meanwhile, half a world away, AG was gearing up to celebrate her 11th birthday with 13 friends, pizza, cupcakes and a movie. As for Leon, well he turned a sprightly 95.
Not bad for an old man, was his usual retort to me, when I called yesterday (today would have been too busy a day for him, going out to lunch as usual with his nephew). So, Leon, I asked, what’s keeping you busy these days? The usual he said.
I knew what he meant: a late riser, Leon spends a good part of the day with his nose buried in one book-on-tape or another. He also regularly writes cheques to his favorite charities & meets with a bunch of other seniors to discuss the most newsworthy stories of the week. Most impressive of all, he high-steps (yes, using those aerobic steps!) and lifts weights daily. But Leon, I asked, wasn’t it while high-stepping that you fell and hurt yourself earlier this year? No, he was quick to reply, that happened while I was jogging in place; but I’ve stopped that.
Opening a drawer by my bed, I dug out Leon’s card from the pile I’d received during the month I laid about in Bangkok Hospital. I hadn’t seen it since my return and I giggled to myself when I saw how he had (get this) typed out the greeting, and sent it to me in the mail. What an effort you put into this, Leon! Here’s an excerpt:
I am sorry to hear of your getting banged up! OJ has kept me fairly current on your fantastic peregrinations. This is a revolting development. I hope you are getting good tender care, and are as comfortable as can be. You are such a long way from home! If pet doggies are allowed in your hospital, they can be a soothing help – even if you are only a bit fond of them. All the best for a quick recovery.
And then, he signed off as he always does: Cheers.
Just a trio of the many celebrations establishing this day as a momentous one; entering pre-teendom surrounded by new friends; emerging from 2 months of utter darkness; or completing yet another lap in the nonagenarian-lane, edging ever so closer to that 100-year mark.
In my quiet mind, all too cognizant of just how much sadness, illness and personal challenges have permeated the airspace of my life this year, I don’t dare let this day pass without reminding myself of the need for marking joy, milestones and achievements. To all of them, I send out confetti-filled blessings.