We almost always walk north. We went out before 7am for our walk this morning, before a quick breakfast and heading for home. But later in the morning two of our grandchildren and a friend’s son played in the tide pools, looking at hermit crabs. (Thank you, RO, for sending this.) Our three grandchildren enjoyed the party. The youngest stomped her feet and grinned. Such fun!

It was Gary’s 70th birthday Sunday, yesterday (it was also Lily Tomlin’s 80th and John at the Post Office had one and Barry Gibb became 72 and the guy at the market in Lincoln City turned 29). We drove down the coast in the morning, stopped at a farmers’ market, took our time. We didn’t have all that far to go.

We have been to the Sylvia Beach Hotel a half dozen times, staying in different rooms and enjoying the peace. We bring books or read what is lying about in this literary inn. I bring knitting. We walk on the beach and sit watching the ocean from the topfloor “Library.” Gary gets into the guests’ kitchenette before dawn and makes a pot of extra strong coffee. Not quite routine, relaxing.

We had made our reservation for the Emily Dickinson room and planned to have a meal across the street. No internet, no television, the Sylvia Beach is a peaceful Victorian on a bluff overlooking the ocean. Across the street is a great restaurant. Gary is particularly fond of the chef’s wife and had a photo of the car her dad drove in Australia. That was the surprise he planned. He had no idea people were coming until we came out of his favorite hotel to go toward his very favorite restaurant Ove Northwest. There was a friend in the doorway across the street. What is Rick doing in Newport?

We celebrated with our sons and their families and some friends. It is amazing that I managed to keep the secret for six months.

Gary’d never had a surprise party. He was stunned. He kept saying, IMG_4879How did you do this? In fact, I’m not sure Gary had ever had a proper birthday party before this one. He never had a proper party as a child. He claims I threw him a party forty years or so ago when we were in college, but I don’t remember.

Gary is a self-effacing person, patient and kind under most all circumstances. He doesn’t ask for much or complain often. He loves cards and phone calls on his day. He smiles all the time but almost never for the camera. He was mugging for me this morning on our walk.

We’ll call this his first party. The very best. He could barely function when he began to understand what was happening. He just sat and looked stunned for at least an hour and Margaret kept his beer glass full. He was so surprised.

He says: Thank you. I love you.


[Gary has read this now and complains that I have failed to detail my craftiness. Okay, I was pretty crafty. I am so very grateful for the people who were able to attend or who called or sent cards. He deserved this.]

6 thoughts on “GARY’S PARTY

  1. Happy Birthday Cousin! You are a wonderful handsome human! This blog was so beautiful it made me cry, Jan is crafty all right! What a story book adventure for your 70th! Your mamma and mine were alike in the practice of no “proper” birthdays. Being sisters accounts for some of that philosophy! At almost 5 I decided to invite children from the neighborhood for my “Pawty” on a Saturday. Thing is I forgot to tell mom about it. She saw little girls in dresses and presents clipping up our sidewalk in their Mary Jane shoes and she went pale and frozen. She was in her hair curlers and housecoat. It’s my “Birfday Pawty!” I shouted out! I was jumping all around the door clapping my hands.She rushed up to the A&P store and bought cupcakes and ribbon. She pulled a box out of the garage.

    The kids presents went in the box tied to a ribbon. They all pulled out a present and ate a cupcake. HA!
    I of course got nothing! Somehow things did not resolve as I had hoped! …………I hope you have a great year and many blessings. I enjoyed talking to Jan for a bit on the phone, She is delightful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for this note, Chris! It was lovely speaking to you the other day too.

      And thank you for sharing the story about your party. Gary did that too: in Arizona, he rode all around the neighborhood on his bike inviting people to his birthday. His “party” didn’t turn out how he’d hoped either.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s