Seniors & Aging

Pam Stone | Birthdays should be celebrated, together

This past week has seen the shared birthday of my two favorite ladies: my mother-in-law, Christine, and my dearest daughter, our Jack Russell, Bonnie.

Both born May 7 — 80 years apart.

Christine turned 94, and Bonnie, I am delighted to report, having been diagnosed with the beginnings of an enlarged heart four years ago, turned 14. Both gals are still going strong including one having just killed a nice, juicy rat in the tack room this morning by holding the rodent clamped tightly between her nearly toothless jaws and shaking her head so vigorously that the neck snapped like a dry twig.

That would have been Bonnie, by the way. Not that Christine couldn’t should she be so inclined, but the only time, really, I’ve ever seen her exhibit terrier-like behavior is the way she goes after marzipan icing. And she has marvelous, gleaming teeth, the product of a healthy Dutch heritage including ingesting airplane hangars-ful of Gouda cheese.

Christine, when asked, wanted the most intimate affair for a birthday lunch with those “little thin pizzas we had at your house one day” (Palermo’s), so Palermo’s pizza she had, as did Bonnie, sitting next to her at the table, party hat slightly askew and following, with her eyes, every round trip Christine’s fork made to her mouth.

Just try telling a 1921 European model it’s OK to eat pizza with your hands. Ain’t gonna happen.

Bonnie always gets a slice of birthday cake each year (yes, at the table) and is quite aggressive about not sharing it with Rosie. I’m the same way with Paul, but Christine is happy to share with anyone. We had a charmingly small cake baked and topped with a fat, pink, sugared rose blossom and real roses, fresh from the garden, encircling the cake stand. An untouched tea pot, its piping hot contents going lukewarm, lost out to an opened and chilled bottle of bubbly.

It got me to thinking, looking around the table at us all … Paul and I are middle-aged (and I intend to say that until I’m 80), Christine is 94, and Bonnie, in dog years, is 98. While Father Time is quite a bugger, taking away things like independence and balance and being able to jump out of a chair quickly to dash across a room, the fact remains that birthdays should be embraced. Relished. Celebrated!

Because we all want to live long lives, don’t we? Well, you can’t live a long life without getting older, can you?

How lovely, I thought, looking round our rustic pine table, adorned with old-fashioned, vintage, rose china and topped off glasses of champagne, how lovely that we are all growing older, together.

Reach PAM STONE at pammstone@gmail.com.

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