Wednesday, April 29, 1998

Double Nickel

Double Nickel...

Trucker slang for the fifty-five mile per hour speed limit.


That's my age today.

Fifty-five years old. Damn, I'm getting old.

I don't feel it though. On the other hand, yes I do.

It seems as if it were just a short time ago that Nancy threw me a surprise 50th birthday party. It was a good one... and I was certainly surprised.

It was the weekend before my birthday and we had tickets to the Cider Mill Theatre. I spent the afternoon running around, doing various weekend errands while Nancy took the kids to some combined youth meeting at church, some joint venture between our church (South Hills Presbyterian) and Christ the King Lutheran Church.

Nobody was home when I got back from my errands and I was just beginning to wonder how late this thing was going to last when the phone rang. It was Nancy calling from church. She said that our daughter had accidently locked the keys to our Dodge Caravan inside the car and could I please bring her the spare keys.

So I drove over there and indeed the meeting must still be going on because there were a lot of cars in the parking lot. Nancy met me outside and said she had to go back in to get the kids and I should come in to see some of the art projects they had done. We walked down the hallway of the classroom wing of the building and, as we approached the double-sized classroom that also served for a meeting hall for church dinners and such, I caught a glimpse of a young woman through the window in the door and thought "Gee, that woman -- must be somebody from the Lutheran Church -- looked just like Nancy's sister Cathy."

And then the door opened and we stepped in and there were streamers and balloons and my brother and his wife and my son Adam and Nancy's mother and father and my friends Ron and Liz and many of Nancy's brothers and sisters and their spouses and everyone was yelling "Surprise!" and "Happy Birthday!" and I couldn't believe it.

It was a great party!

Nancy had done this once before... she and Adam had conspired to throw a smaller suprise party for me for my 35th birthday... yes, twenty years ago. We weren't married then, not even living together. Nancy was working in New York City and living in Westchester County and came up to Binghamton for my birthday weekend. I was suspicious because she made a big production about taking my old newspapers and cans & bottles to the recycling center and I half-expected to find people waiting when we got back to my apartment. I was feeling really tired because I was working 2nd shift computer operations at the time so having gotten up early that morning was leaving me a bit short on sleep. Nancy suggested that I take a nap and she and Adam would take care of dinner (can't remember if she was going to cook something or get some pizza -- probably get pizza) and when I woke up I came out into the dining room and ** surprise ** there were half a dozen friends gathered to wish me a happy birthday.

Low key this year, just a normal birthday cake with Nancy and the kids.

I'm still not sure how I feel about this whole age 55 thing. In a way, it's kind of cool because although I'm definitely in my twenties or thirties, I don't really feel anywhere near as old as the numbers indicate and most people think I'm in my forties, so I think that is okay... but -- damn! -- fifty-five... that's getting to be kind of, you know... old!

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