There is no way I am this old and yet here I am surrounded by all these people, with “apples” pointed directly at me. Has another year really passed so quickly, like a blur? It feels like deja vu, except I am sure this time the cake will be bigger. After all, where the hell can you put 100 candles on a little 8” sugary confection? As my mind ponders the possibilities, the room becomes dark and quiet. Wait! There’s this strange glow coming from the back, and that’s when I realize some family member is carrying out my birthday cake. Each year I love to count candles, I mumble in a voice I think only I can hear, “I hope the firemen are good looking!” To which my children and grandchildren snicker and laugh. My daughter answers me in that whinny voice of hers, “Mom, it won’t matter you can’t see them anyway.” This precipitates another round of cackles and laughter. It is at this precise moment I want to pick up the cake and hurl it at whoever made the mistake to stand across the table from me. While you’re all preparing to sing to me, do any of you realize all the bullshit I have put up with over the years from each one of you? Oh my Gawd…no wonder most of my contemporaries have left this life. They just couldn’t take it anymore. All joking aside, this birthday with its 100 wax candle bonfire is to be celebrated in a thankful way. After all God blessed me with all these years to enjoy my family and whoever is left of my friends. In addition, just think of the atrocities my family has tolerated from me! I have surely given them seconds of joyous laughter like this one, and others where they have fallen to their knees in prayer begging God to keep me around a little longer. You see, where else can they get such great comic relief anytime they want it? Never a dull moment and that is a guarantee.
What has me in stitches most of the time is the grands and great- grands. They seem to sneak up on me at the most inopportune moments and they find such humor in my foibles and human frailties. Like at night when I have just taken my dentures out, my mouth sunk in, and they ask me to smile. OOOOOhhhhh what a sight I am then! A couple nights I go I was sitting in my comfy chair watching something so hilarious that a small sound emitted from my backside. To me it seems small but who knows how sound reverberates on this furniture? I keep thinking that the little chuckle I am making will hide the noise, but wouldn’t you know that those little ones have ears like satellite dishes? Suddenly, a little voice speaking in decibels I never thought possible screams, “Gigi, you farted soooo loud!” If company is over, especially those I don’t know or recognize, I am totally mortified. I am thankful that my daughter hasn’t renewed my eyeglasses. If I can’t see them, I don’t know them right?
In all seriousness, I AM turning 100 today. My family seems grateful to have me despite all those trips to the doctors, surely more than they want to count. I have seen numerous changes in my lifetime which includes too many politicians, some of them outstanding leaders, others thieves who steal our money before it hits our banks. More specifically that check they call social security. By the time it makes the trip from Washington DC to my bank in Connecticut, it is barely a blip on my bank statement. Technology has taken my phone with the dial that I cherished and tried to press one of those stupid picture cell phones in my bony hands. In fact, my son took me out last week and said we were going to by an “Apple.” I looked at him and said, “Only one?” Following this, a lecture on the Apple IPhone” and it’s convenience for senior, senior citizens like moi. Now, this brings up a question, “How do older people deal with being reminded of how stupid we are?” I could say so much on this topic but why waste my breath. I have to save it to blow out 100 candles! All I know is that I have lived this long without an “Apple” who do I need it now?
When we sit to dinner at night, all of us fighting to see which can talk loudest over the other, I pretend to be hard of hearing. They call me, over and over; I keep eating or looking around the table and smiling. By now, I’ve gotten so good at this charade they almost believe it. One night I was enjoying my granddaughter’s shepherd pie, an old-time favorite of mine, when I heard my grandson say, “Mom, I gave grandma a piece of chocolate I found on the bathroom counter.” My daughter looked quizzically at him and asked, “What did the wrapper say?” He is such an innocent child with a big heart, so he smiled and said “Ex-Lax”. Just then, I looked over at my daughter and said, “Holy Shit”. I toppled my chair and started running on these old spindly legs. Seems the lax worked faster than my legs could take me. Too late
We oldies are so tired at times and wired at others. My daughter and son-in-law will often keep me company in the evenings. We all love to laugh at comedians. It’s close to midnight, one or the other is gone to bed, me, I am just getting my second wind. There is no way I will sleep now but I find laughing alone, a drag. The solution, because Russell Peter’s is on and I love him, stay right where I am and pull an all-nighter. Funny how the human mind works, even at my age, as soon as I have made that decision, my eyes clamp shut like a garage door. You know those doors with the remote. I am down for the count and instead of comfy in my bed, I am sitting crooked and uncomfortably in one of those damn wingback chairs my daughter swears are the rage.
I don’t mean to go off on a tangent about my centennial life but I wanted to make sure that all of you reading this realized that not only are we aware of our surroundings, our minds are mostly still intact and capable of understanding. It may come as a shock to most of you who have not been blessed with an oldie but goodie 100 year old in your family, but you have no idea what you are missing. We can keep you just as amused as your kids, we are great helpers with history homework and although we don’t cook as much, we have some dynamite recipes for cookies and casseroles that are to die for. So, as I blow out the bonfire this year I look around the table at all of you, my eyes are not just glassy with age, those are tears of joy and love. I know it’s too much to hope all of you feel the same but a small handful is enough. Aren’t we all lucky to have me!