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.