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By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian
By HERB BENHAM, Californian columnist firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday we attended a matinee showing of "Blue Jasmine," Woody Allen's new film, at the Valley Plaza theater."You know, we get the senior discount now," Sue said.
The senior discount? I'm not getting any senior discount. You're the one who turned 60. Don't add a year to my age, grandma.
"Fifty-five is the cutoff here," she said.
Sue smiled, something she has been doing often this month. She should be smiling.
It's been one party after another. Her friend, Sally, surprised her with one and our kids came to town for the surprise. Birthday dinner at her parents' house. Champagne at Imbibe on the actual day.
What else can we do? Would you like me to rent a hot air balloon? Have Bruce Springsteen come to the door and sing you "Thunder Road"?
I joke. Why have one party when you can have two? Two, when you can have four?
Usually I'm the worst offender. This time I have been a willing accomplice on her behalf. Sixty seems big. Significant.
Maybe it's just a number, but it's a number to which we attach importance. It's the Mount Rushmore of ages. The company of those who have gone before (and those right on their tails) is hallowed.
Sue hasn't been worried. It's impressive. She faced this birthday with equanimity that's hard for me to fathom, given that I am already counting down the days to my own Mount Rushmore moment next May.
"Any birthday is a good birthday," she said.
What she meant was that we all know people who do not have the good fortune to celebrate more birthdays. Approaching one with health and attitude intact, with friends and interesting family, is worthy of multiple parties.
It doesn't hurt that she looks good. I'm not just saying this to pad my point total. We were somewhere a few years ago and a guy asked if she was my daughter.
I'm not sure what he meant. Are you saying that she looks good or that I look bad? Or both?
Pioneer stock. While my people were taking the train, her people were pushing handcarts across the plains.
Her daughter, Katie, and son-in-law, Hunter, called on her birthday. Next, Sam and Herbie. Then Thomas called at around 3 p.m. Her brother and sister in-between.
Birthdays have soundtracks. I played her Joan Osborne's version of "One of Us." The song had nothing to do with her birthday. I just liked it.
Then Jeffrey Foucault and "One for Sorrow." I didn't play it for the sorrow part but for a couple of the lines:
"Your mom will give us china, your dad will give us hell. When we make our getaway, they ought to ring those wedding bells. One for sorrow, two for joy, they say. I've had my fill of sorrow anyway.
"We're going to have 100 babies. In a little house outside of town."
We didn't have 100 babies, but we had four and we rang those wedding bells and someone gave us china. Sue doesn't seem that different from the girl I met in college at 19.
One more song. "Back When We Were Beautiful," sung by Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell. It's about getting older. Getting older. Something this hiking, traveling, Scrabble-playing girl is good at.
These are Herb Benham's opinions, not necessarily those of The Californian.