Friday, November 7, 2008

For My Next Decade ...

The secret of my longevity? Always being part-way through a murder mystery -- you can't possibly leave before discovering who done it.

Seventy. Seven-oh. Seven decades. I keep rolling variations of that number set around in my mind, trying to get used to it. See, I've had ten years to adjust to giving my age as sixty-whatever. I was comfortable with that. So used to it, I didn't even notice.

But this morning, at approximately 5:30 a.m. Pacific time, my chronological clock turned over to seventy. Oh my, that's a whole new sound. A whole new flippin' decade. More than that -- it's a whole new image.

See, I've always thought of folks in their seventies as being way more mature and dignified and, damn it, wise, than I'll ever be. Being seventy is like wearing someone else's clothes and discovering they don't fit. Being seventy is like going to a fancy dress ball in blue jeans and moccasins. Being seventy is like entering college before you've graduated from high school.

You would think that, at seventy, I could look back over the last seven decades and recite a long list of all the wondrous events that have occurred -- and I can, yes indeedy. Like a long list of assorted presidents, men on the moon and Elvis on Ed Sullivan from the waist up. Several wars, civil unrest, Bob Hope and permanent press fabrics. But that's a fairly universal list, common to all of us. It's more fun thinking of personal landmarks over the last seventy years.

Like how a big old Look candy bar was only a nickel when I was seven. By interesting coinkydink, my weekly allowance was exactly five cents. I'll tell you, they don't make Look candy bars like that any more. Of course, nickels don't buy as much any more, either.

I remember hatching out an abandoned wild duck egg once by keeping it tucked in my bra, day and night, for several days. It hatched out on my pillow early one morning. Poor little thing. I tried to keep it alive but corn meal gruel didn't seem to do the job. My siblings and I gave it a good funeral, though.

Oh, yeah! There's the time I ran away from home. Although I had, in general, a very happy childhood, there were certainly moments of (cough, cough) teenage angst. During one of those disaffected periods, I decided to take the fifty dollars I'd won on entries at the county fair and buy a bus ticket on the Greyhound, headed for the race track at Santa Anita. In those days, horses were the great passion in my life. I packed a little overnight bag with spare jeans and shirts, some junk jewelry and a swimming suit. (What WAS I thinking?) Caught the bus at the grocery store here in town and headed out for my big adventure.

When Mom stopped at the store on her way home from teaching school, the ratfink grocer squealed on me. She called ahead and a teacher friend scooped me up at the restaurant where the bus was making its dinner stop. My great escape got me all of 45 minutes down the road from home. Minus what I had to pay for bus fare.

I guess that's about how my life has gone all these years -- one adventure after another. Some are just little adventures, like being part of the NCO Wives Club nightclub show at the Air Force base in Goose Bay, Labrador. After a week of performances on base, the whole crew was flown to Saglak, a radar outpost on the DEW Line where we put on the show for 112 very lonely men. When we got back to the base, I told my husband, "You'd better treat me good, mister, because I've got options!"

Then there are the big adventures, like the month Mom and I spent in Thailand when my brother was working there. I loved the country and the people and the food. And I got to ride an elephant, pet a leopard and was hugged and mugged by a chimpanzee.

Of course the best adventures are the ones you have with family and friends. The wonderful world of the Internet has managed to expand that kind of experience for all of us. Just think of how many terrific folks we all meet and get to know through blogs and mailing lists. Like you Coffee Mates. Yeah, YOU. As long as I can keep enjoying that kind of adventure, I guess I won't worry too much about this strange new Seventy image. I'll either grow into it -- or tailor it to fit.


Becky said...

Happy Birthday, Dee! And I think you'll go for tailoring it to fit, then teaching everyone how to do that for themselves!

CJA said...

Happy Birthday my friend. I'm not that far behind you. Will be 69 in March. What is it they say about not getting older but getting better. That's you girl. *Hugs*

Doug said...

Happy birthday, and
Thanx for being here!

John Bailey said...

Happy birthday, you trail-blazer, too. Look behind you somewhere around August next year and you'll see me struggling to catch up.

One blessing (among many) ... have you noticed how chocolate tastes even better now?

Wendy said...

Dee, all best wishes as you begin this new decade. If you're seventy, then seventy isn't old!

~ Sil in Corea said...

Congratulations! Happy Birthday and Many, Many More Happy Days! I'll be tagging along like 'li'l sis.' You can teach me how to "do the seventies." (turn up the disco, please) ;-)

Stephanie said...

I just love what you told your husband about having options. Happy birthday!

kate et jim said...

Happy Birthday, Dee! Have a fantastic, wonderful day!

I'm with Becky - You'll 'tailor it to fit'.

Gosh - I just realized, I'm only 13 years behind you. (Doesn't sound like a long way off, when I put it that way. ;)

Bex said...

Happy Birthday Dee. It's funny how we picture our online friends and then come to find out our "mental picture" of them is all wrong. I know 70 is not "old" especially to a person who is now pushing 61 in a few months... but it galls me when the doctors I type for dictate that they are examining an "elderly gentleman" and then I check and see that the patient is 70 years of age! I grit my teeth and try not to be too angry... since that doctor probably is just a young thing and doesn't know any better...

"elderly" indeed. Anyway, Happy Birthday, again! Are you planning to make your own cake, and can we have a piece when you're done?

The Old Guy said...

At seventy, you're full of beans.
No longer slave to the daily grind,
You think back over many scenes
Which percolate down through your mind.

Once a hottie, up and doing,
Now you're cool and even sweeter,
Offering your latest brewing,
Serving wisdom by the liter.

So may you, Goddess of the Bean,
Have grounds to keep us all awake,
Recounting tales of what you've seen
(With recipes for coffee cake).

Three cups Barack, one cup of Joe!
Your new decade starts with elation!
Make mine double! That's to go!
America's the Caffeine Nation!

Maggie said...

Many happy returns!

I turned 60 the end of August, so now am officially and Old Age Pensioner. Eeek!

Hugs from Liverpool

Bonnie said...

You know I kept looking at that date and couldn't remember why it seemed special to me. Now I know, a friend has a birthday and I didn't remember.And shoot I'm younger than her! lol

Well OK I join you next year. Got our rocking chairs ready?

I want some pictures of that show btw.

ryc: I'll get a themometer and the next time I make it,no foil! It was good.

Anonymous said...

After reading your post and all the comments, I realized I am one of the oldies. I am three years ahead of you, Gal, and I am here to say that 70 might be a milestone, but just think, 10 more years and you can be 80! Mama always said that after 80, it became all fun. How's that for looking ahead with hope and laughter?

Happy Birthday, Friend, and many more.


Jo said...

Dee, I knew you were a grand corker of a person to know. And you just added some really neat tidbits about your life that we all didn't know. Loved it! So, what part did you play in that show?

If I was close by, I'd gladly bake you a cake and bring it over. But since I can't, all I can do is wish you a happy birthday and MANY more. I can only wish to live as long as you. I've got 10 years to go.

P.S. The Old Guy is pretty famous for whipping out those birthday poems. Loved it, my dear.

wordsofmine said...

Happy birthday Dee and many more. Thanks for sharing your memories. mz. em

Maggie said...

Happy happy happy dear Dee........we are all so very glad to know you at any age. I just happened to think you thirty......where was I.

You are the new seventy fer sure.