Lynne d Johnson



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01.30.07 03:48 PM

What It Means to be 75

Of course I have no idea what it means to be 75, but my mother does. Because of this, I probably shouldn't even be telling this story, or at least put up photos to illustrate. But I'm just as much a part of this story as my mother is, so I have a right to share.

You see, my brother, sister, and I gave my mother what we called a "Diamond Jubilee," on her day of birth, which happened to be Jan. 19.

We'd been planning the event since about November, but all three of us caught up in busy lives. weren't exactly on top of every detail. Turns out that didn't matter at all, because somehow it all came together.

She looked regal sliding out of that Escalade limousine. The mink she hardly wears, shielding her from the oncoming winds and increasing cold. As she entered the lobby of the hall it was as if she were a movie star. Someone took her coat, as flashes of light shuttered and shone upon her radiant face. She stood steadfast, awaiting her children so that they could tell her what to do next.

This event was partially a surprise. Well it was a surprise in the sense that we attempted to make it a surprise. But each attempt at lifting enough contents from her address book was always thwarted by she herself. So on Thanksgiving, after all the guests had gone, we told her we were trying to do something for her birthday but she needed to step back so that we could make it come to fruition. She balked at first, unsure of the uncertain. Truth was, she had no choice, the plans were already in motion.

And so it began. I with the invitations and cake. My brother with the centerpieces for the table and DJ equipment and music. My sister with the party favors and limousine.

RSVPs rolled in slowly as potential attendees left voice mail on my cell phone, and before I knew it, I had over 80 people on my list. And more than half of them wanted a return call, to ask me questions, and to simply make sure their RSVP had been received. It was like having a second job, attending to all of those people, one-by-one. And then I almost forgot the cake. Had my brother not reminded me a week in advance, we would've been cake-less. As I stated earlier, we weren't always on every top of the plan. In fact the music selections mixes didn't finalize until a day before.

And the day was finally upon us. And the mother was acting excited and anxious. And the children set up the place. And the guests started rolling in. And the mother appeared to all of those flashing lights, and sauntered into the room as a jazz rendition of "How Great Thou Art" played. And the mother smiled and waved at each table as she made her way to the dais. And the throng applauded and smiled and waved back.

She eventually went over to each table and personally thanked each person for attending. That was before dinner.

After dinner, and the prayers and accolades offered by attendees who approached the microphone, she joined the crowd on the floor and joined them as they stepped to the electric slide, and cha-cha slide. The merriment lasted four joyous hours, and for a week following she called her daughter every day to tell her how much she enjoyed herself and how people kept talking about the party that her children had thrown her.

So I suppose that's what 75 feels like. Happy. Joyous. Appreciated. Complete.

At least that's how 75 started off for my mother.

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