Monday, March 15, 2010

Birthday Pondering

The clock is about to strike 12, at which point I will have reached 58 years of age. The congratulations have been pouring in from family and friends all over the world since last weekend when I posted a photograph online of my close friend Greg Kellenberger and me holding candlelit desserts at the end of our annual celebratory dinner.

I've heard from Nathaniel Davis in Beijing and from Bob Levine off the coast of Brazil on a cruise ship. I've heard from cousins in California, a former girlfriend in Denver, law school classmates in Washington, D.C., family in the Twin Cities, Connecticut and Arizona. Rabbi Cohen sent me an e-card, saying nice things about me that I don't deserve. Jessica Applebaum called today because she'll be out of town tomorrow. My "brother" Bruce Mandel and I will exchange greetings on Tuesday as we have on every March 16th, our mutual birthday, since we were 3 years old.

I am one lucky S.O.B.

I'm on the backside of the mountain and, like everyone else, have no idea how steep the descent that lays before me. Yet, strangely, the contentment I feel at having had the privilege of being part of so many disparate lives, and making enough of an impression to warrant a gesture of goodwill each year, overcomes any anxiousness inherent in the realization that there's a fairly large mound of sand at the bottom of the clock.

I picked the wrong Powerball number, again, on Saturday so I have no plans of early retirement. But as I hear from so many dear, dear friends and loving family members, I realize that a more robust bank account hardly matters. Each phone call, e-mail, text message and Facebook posting is a trip down memory lane and an opportunity to reflect on the extraordinary times I've shared all over the world.

Thanks to all for the gift of sharing yourselves with me. Thank you for making me more tolerant by showing me the good in you I might otherwise miss during our fervent political debates. Thank you for indulging my delusions of artistry as I impose my writing and my photography on you. Thank you for trusting me to find solutions to your challenges, whether on a
pro bono basis or at my regular obscene hourly rate. Thank you for caring enough to touch base and help me appreciate the magnificence of our connections and the shiny bow of memories yet to be made.

Here's an appropriate image for today's pondering. I was going to post it in my "Photo of the Day" Facebook album, but it seems better placed here. It's entitled "The Home Stretch" and was taken at the Little Everglades Steeplechase in Dade City, Florida two years ago. Significantly, they're not letting up.


3 comments:

Charles Leck said...

Sam, Sam, happy birthday from just down the road. Listen up, fella! You're still a young man. Take it from a real old-timer: Use the next years wisely and lovingly. You will find there is nothing so profitable as being kind to people -- no bitching at bar-room waitresses just because they don't serve breakfast until 10 o'clock. No kicking dogs. Do whatever your wife asks. Then your next years will be many and you will be happy.

Elf said...

Dig those spurs in and GO! I'm not far behind you, but not yet ready to concede I'm nearing the home stretch. Let's hope I'm right! Happy day to you!

RTL said...

Sammy,

You are one lucky S.O.B.! But knowing you leaves me feeling I am a lucky S.O.B.,too. Calling to wish you a Happy Birthday is like giving myself a gift.

Your Blogs are a gift as well. I want to pull out your response to our more conservative friends and have it in hand when they come at me with the vitreol burned into their minds from conseervative talk radio. Keep writing.

Thanks, Bro!

Love ya.
RT