I spent part of my birthday at the Saint Louis Zoo at Forest Park.
The weather? HOT and muggy. Two hours was enough….
I have spent many of my recent birthdays out of the country — last year in Vienna, three years ago in Exeter, four years ago in Prague, six years ago in Bristol, seven years ago at Interlochen (not out of the country, but in the different land of Michigan).
This year I wanted nothing more than to be home and be happy. I received a note yesterday, from the Dean at Christ Church Cathedral (Episcopal) in Saint Louis. Part of that note said “I pray that the anniversary of your birth will bring reflections of care, love, and hope.”
And that’s exactly what July 17, 2019 brought me.
I spent part of the totally July day (intense heat and humidity) at Saint Louis Zoo, wandering around with three surrogate nephews. I call them my ‘circus nephews.’ (Zoo photos follow tomorrow.)
My niece Anna works at the zoo, and I stopped by to say ‘hi’ to her.
Then after dropping the boys at their home, I stopped by Sugarfire to purchase an entire Key lime pie, something I’d been craving for a few days.
I dealt with birthday greetings from far and near on Facebook, having heard from people in Morocco, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, China, Hong Kong, Brazil, Italy, Sweden, and the USA. And as I take stock of those greetings, I find Shirley Ward, who has known me since I was six years old; college roommate Steve Davis; boyhood friend and now stepbrother Greg Herriman; Linda Hodges, sometime surrogate mom who with whose children I grew up and who was with us as my father was dying; and current and former students, people with whom I’ve made and lived theatre; people with whom I’ve sang; colleagues, friends, chums, classmates, acquaintances from around the world. This is a rich tapestry indeed!
I ran some errands and tidied my life a bit by returning things and dealing with gardening recycling.
And I cooked, which for me is spiritual and physical sustenance. The dinner menu, shared with my dear friend D., was lamb kebabs (broiled after the storm came through and squelched my charcoal plans) and homemade tzatziki, garden salad with mango dressing, and Key lime pie.
And then we sat out doors in the temperate weather and talked for an hour.
[The ground lamb, by the way, was flavored with ginger, garlic, shallot, cumin, coriander, and cinnamon, as well as salt and pepper. This is one of my favorite grilling dishes!]
Evening Prayer from The Book of Common Prayer closed out my day. Then some Downton Abbey.
Surrounded by love, reminded of love from afar, with a growing sense of newfound centeredness and qi that is positive and healthy, with new determination to right some physical and emotional listlessness . . . “care, love and hope” indeed.
I spent Tuesday quietly. Started with a two-hour nap after one cup of coffee. Continued with some CNN. Finally got a shower.
Out the door at 1 p.m., and found some beef goulash for lunch at a quiet place off of Mariahilferstrasse.
Then I spent the afternoon at the Hofmöbiliendepot, the repository for old furniture from the Imperial estates, with holdings going back more than 300 years, and a massive collection of Biedermeier furniture. I’ll write more about this separately.
A long walk back to the flat left me a few minutes to rest before going to see a screening of The Third Man at the Burg Kino, the local English cinema. This movie, from 1949, was filmed in and set in Vienna while the city was still under Allied martial law. I’d never seen it, and I’m glad I waited to see it here.
I closed the day with Wienerschnitzel and a beer at Wieden Bräu, the brew-house on the corner by my flat.
This was the first goulash and the first schnitzel of the trip!
Wednesday = Melk Abbey and a cruise on the Danube.
My 56th birthday.
Thanks to Facebook, I heard today from
And closer to home, from friends (spanning the years from Pleasant Lea Elementary School until today) in
In a life that has centered on education, I heard from students and colleagues from
“I am wealthy in my friends.”
My 20-year-old niece, Anna, sent birthday greetings today, with her new ukulele….
I was all smiles and a few giggles until 1:50, when I was in complete guffaw mode.