Blog 33: Birthdays


By Nancy Aronie

My birthday is May first and I don’t know how it happens but its as if the entire northeast decides to celebrate with me. Everything is bursting life. From drab browns and gunmetal grays to bright pinks and sunny yellows and that tender chartreuse of newborn leaves on the cusp of uncurling and unfurling, it’s a miracle every year. It wasn’t always that way. As a kid birthdays were humble and simple and my memories aren’t great. I remember on my ninth birthday my mother gave me a six pack of pansies which I immediately went out and planted in our muddy postage stamp back yard. The next day there was a note on our door from the landlord. It read: do not plant anything without my permission, and there were my six pansies wilted and crushed on the ground.

But that was then and this is now. As a grown up I've more than made up for those tough times.

Almost without exception, my closest friends and family are winter birthdays. I get spring.

This year, as most years, I don’t make a plan til right before the actual day but in April I do begin letting people know they have 11, or 15, or 27 more shopping days til May one.

So this time I got tickets to Stephen Colbert. I tape him and watch him often. We had the best seats . We sat in the orchestra; first row center. I was told it would be cold in the studio so I was wearing my favorite orange down Patagonia (which is ripped with little down feathers escaping but I cant part with this piece of clothing) and Joel was wearing his sexy though funky jacket that adds another layer to his already movie star look. Half way through the warm up guy's gig, he stopped his Ste-phen Ste-phen Ste-phen chant and lets hear how loud you can cheer…. Louder!!! Louder!!! Come on guys scream it. Then all of a sudden he stopped everything and he looked up and said, Orange stand up.

I stood up as if we had rehearsed this very scenario. And the fact is I had. The day I got the tickets, before I went to sleep, I imagined Stephen Colbert calling me up to sit in one of the guest chairs beside him. I had this entire little theatre fantasy still awake but very real. I told him it was my birthday. He asked how old I was . I said 76. The audience clapped. Anyway this didn’t happen with Stephen Colbert but it happened almost exactly that way only with the warm up guy. He said you don’t look 76. What do you do that keeps you in such good shape? (of course later when i looked at the monitor and saw my stomach bulging out of my white stripes going the wrong way hoody) (ok I need different eye balls) I said I swim every day and I put heavy cream in my coffee. He said where do you live and I said Martha’s Vineyard. He said something about the Vineyard and we were just having a conversation as if we were alone. . I was completely relaxed talking to this guy in front of 600 people. After all, I had done it two nights before. Then I told him it was our 50th anniversary this August and he said no way. Where is the dude? I pointed at Joel and he made him stand up. He asked him how old he was and Joel said 75 and he said what’s in the water on Martha's Vineyard???? I began to sit down and he said no orange, stay standing. I told him how I had proposed to Joel 52 years before and that Joel didn’t say yes right away. I was so happy to be up there I just kept talking (we all know I’m in heaven when I’m talking) and he said does she ever shut up. But it was funny, not mean. The show was amazing. It was the one that apparently got a lot of play because of his very specific remarks about Putin and Trump. As we were leaving people kept coming up to me wishing me a happy birthday. And boy was it ever. Just one of the absolute best!

Way better than watching my pansies droop and die.


Now you guys write about your birthdays.



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