Yep, August 16 came and went. I gave myself a present — took the day off work. At home, the spouse did his usual thing: gave me a card, a rose from our garden, a kiss and a hug, then asked “what’s for breakfast?” (He really doesn’t celebrate or care for birthdays, even “milestone” days like this day was for me.)
But before we sat down for breakfast, the doorbell rang. “Who’s that?” demanded the Spouse. Well, ’twas another surprise. Out on the lawn there rose such a clatter that…
…I in my boots and Spouse in his jeans were surprised to be serenaded by seven lovely LOLITS (senior pals) who “birthday caroled” right there on the lawn. I laughed and sang along. Spouse just smiled (insert eye-roll). One of my pals baked me my favorite kind of birthday cake. I was truly taken aback and very happy. I thanked each of them profusely.
Spouse became concerned about getting to a doctor’s appointment in Outer Slobbovia (Virginia) on time, so we finished our breakfast quickly and endured a long slog during “rush hour” (i.e., Beltway slogfest) to get from our home to the doctor’s office near Dulles Airport.
But as we drew closer to the doctor’s office, Spouse said, “change of plans — I rescheduled the appointment. Instead, YOU have an appointment to go to Alitalia Airlines arrivals and meet someone.”
I was dumbstruck. First of all, Spouse never makes doctor’s appointments for himself or reschedules them. Second, was he saying what I thought he was saying? Only one person I know flies Alitalia … my twin brother who lives in Rome (Italy)… and in speaking with him on Monday, he told me that he was going to celebrate “our” birthday with me later, like around Christmas. I did not ask him what he was going to do on our actual birthday, so he did not have to lie.
Soon enough, my travel-war-weary, tall, handsome brother came out of the customs area, saw me, and gave me a hug that lifted me almost out of my boots. I got teary-eyed. It has been way too long since I’ve seen him.
I thought he would be exhausted from traveling a red-eye, but he said that he was given an upgrade to business class that had a fold-flat seat, so he slept peacefully through the nine-hour flight.
Further, after loading his bags in my truck, he said, “hey, I’ve made some plans…” and as he fiddled with his sillyphone, he showed me a map on its GPS system and said, “will you drive me here?” … showing me a route to a Harley dealer in Virginia.
The bro’ had reserved a Harley rental. I drove him over there, and he picked up his bike, a 2016 Road King. Sweet!
He followed me home. We unloaded his bags and had a quick lunch. Bro borrowed a helmet from me that fit him better than the one the rental company offered. We then mounted our respective iron horses and went for a ride. Just like we have done before… no plan, just riding. Flip a coin at an intersection and go left, right, straight, or sideways. I didn’t care — I was riding with my brother again like old times.
I was smiling so hard my face hurt. I was singing, too. Brother would hear me and give me that grin of his. He knew how deeply happy I was.
We stopped about half-way (wherever we were) at a roadside farm stand and bought some fresh corn and got some water. I got all teary-eyed again. I couldn’t believe that this big lug of a brother came all the way home just for “our” birthday. Just for me! (Well, for “us”, but we wouldn’t be an “us” if it weren’t for him.)
We tried surprising a sister, but she was not at home. We will visit the family and surprise them at the usual Friday night family dinner. (Well, not that much of a surprise because the fam figured out that J is here from a social media post that had an obscure reference, and they were calling on the phone all night.)
We rode about 100 miles through harvested but still tall and green fields of corn and other crops. It was warm (about 86F/ 30C) and humid (dew point at 70F / 21C), but we were having such fun that the heat didn’t matter (until we got closer to home and traffic got slower.)
On arrival at home, we settled in and the Spouse joined us for a catch-up on all that has gone on over the past two years since we’ve seen him.
Steaks grilled, salad tossed, fresh corn we bought grilled as well … ah, peace. A great meal with the two most important and most-loved men in my life.
Life is short: make milestone memories.