This may look like I’m fishing for presents, or at least birthday greetings, but it’s not. It’s just that not only does July 30 happen to be my birthday (the 53rd this year, if you’re keeping track), but it also happens to be my niece Lauren’s (24–happy birthday, sweetie!) and that of my across-the-street neighbor, Sonya (70), who looks fabulous. I’m not nearly as gorgeous now, let alone when I’m 70. Yet I love Sonya, who is also a great friend.
Sonya might tell you that it’s also the birthday of the daughter of her former next-door neighbor, and I would add that I know at least two other people born July 30 (but I can’t for the life of me remember who they are now). It’s a good day for a birthday.
Actually, it’s a perfect birth day, I’ve always thought. (Thanks, Mom!) I showed up weeks early, apparently, because even in utero I coveted a mid-summer birthday, almost perfectly positioned for swim or water skiing parties at the lake next door. It falls in that time between the end of one school year and the beginning of another, and it is no accident that now, as a middle-aged person (I guess I am living to be 100 then), I try to be out of town on vacation on our birthday.
Not that I don’t want to celebrate with friends and family, but I love being out in the world at this time of summer. Even at Lake Crescent, where it is often gray and chilly, which it was yesterday. Today, however, the sun is shining, turning the lake a color I can only describe as azure, the breeze is blowing softly, moving high, wispy clouds high over Pyramid Mountain.
But I digress. The point here is that Sonya, my loyal, across-the-street neighbor for the past 24 summers, is woman-ing the home front in my absence. She usually does, God bless her, as I do for her when she’s out of town. Typically that consists of Sonya running across the street a couple of times a day to feed my tribe of cats, or me doing the same for her single boy named Dakota.
Unfortunately for Sonya, this summer’s vacation began with discovering a small lake on the north side of my house that was suspected to be a sprinkler leak but turned out to be a major water line break. Since I left town, Sonya has been jockeying between Paul the yard guy and great fix-it man, who has been removing stray privets and other invaders, and Ed the plumber, who called me this morning to give me the bad news.
“I can fix the break,” he said in that way that always makes me think that’s not the best idea, “or I can replace the whole line.” Pause to let that sink in; I imagined the dollars that go with each option. “It’s the original water line.” Pause as I did the math: house built in 1921; it’s now 2011… good heavens, that line is almost 90 years old!
“Replace the whole line,” I said, and I could hear Ed sigh, whether in relief or not I couldn’t tell. More work for him, but it has to be done.
“OK,” Ed said. “It’ll be done by the time you get home.”
So in the meantime, to feed and water my cats, Sonya has to import water from her house, check on the (diminishing) lake on the side, still find a way to water plants on the deck and by the garage, and, and, and…
And she’s turning 70 this week, too. Did I say how wonderful she looks? She looks fahhhh-booo-lous. And she is equally fabulous on the inside, too. Truly!
Sonya, this is a public birthday greeting and thank you. All the flowers and gifts I might send can’t adequately convey my gratitude to you, dear neighbor and friend, for all you do for me and mine. You deserve a fabulous getaway or celebration on our day. And we will celebrate when I return home to a new water pipe and far less foliage on one side of my house. (Thanks, Ed and Paul!)
Mahalo nui loa for making my annual birthday vacation possible, for being the best neighbor/pal a gal could have! I owe you a big one!