IN MY OPINION
Books Read in 2008
A NEW DECADE
2 March 2008
"Welcome to the 60s," I wrote on the birthday card. I signed it and then gave it to Walt to sign.
"60? He's only 50, isn't he?" he said.
I could have sworn he was 60, but I didn't want to give him 10 years he hadn't earned yet, so I changed the "6" to a "5" and sealed the card.
We arrived at the house in Sacramento this afternoon, meeting relatives of the guest of honor outside and exchanging names and identities. We walked in the house and were greeted by messages:
Oh well. It's kind of like the hero of "Water for Elephants," who can't remember if he's 90 or 93. The card covers turning 50 or turning 60!
Our hostess reads this journal and so knew that I'd be tickled to see what they were using for a coat rack for the party.
(She assured me that it was only for tonight and that the exercise equipment really does get used!)
We each got name tags and what fun it was. Everybody had a tag with something everyone was supposed to ask them about. It was a fun icebreaker.
At least one person was planning to go home and check out Funny the World after the party. If she did -- Hi! Glad to see you here!
What a great mix of people. Jim is a movie critic for a Sacramento newspaper and so my boss (who is the movie critic for the Davis Enterprise) was there, as was the movie critic for the local TV station. There were several folks we knew from theatre here in Davis (one is also the Vice President of the SPCA, so it was a double whammy), and people Jim, who is also an actor, knew from other theatre groups. And then there were the neighbors who came, not really knowing more than that LuAnn was a singer and piano teacher.
"He seems to have a lot of friends in the arts," one neighbor told me.
People came from all over, including a handful of folks from Davis. When you run into people that you know...but don't really know...there is always that awkwardness. I was speaking with a delightful woman who has lived in Davis even longer than we have. In fact, her daughter and Jeri used to be good friends (I think), we discovered. She said that she loves reading my reviews and she knows that if I write a good review, it's something that she will like.
Things were going along well until the conversation turned in that direction that I hate. "What are your kids doing now?" she asked. I cringed. She's been in town 35 years. Our kids went to school together. My name is familiar to her. Surely she "knows." I hoped. It was in all the papers. Many times.
I told her about Jeri, and about Ned, and about Tom and hoped that she remembered all the headlines we'd made all those many years ago.
"And what about the other two?" she asked.
That's always a conversation stopper. It doesn't bother me except for the awkwardness the other person feels when I give the answer. Sometimes I say that they are still in Davis and leave it at that (because they are!). But I could see she was interested enough to want details, so I told her and then tried to change the subject so she wouldn't feel bad for asking. Telling someone always totally stops whatever "getting to know you" conversation you were having.
I was going to ask what the child that (I think) was Jeri's friend is doing now, but somehow once I'd talked about Paul and Dave, we never got around to it.
But I enjoyed chatting with several people, including a guy who has been attending Lamplighters shows for longer than Walt and I have--over 50 years. It was fun having non-business time to chat with my editor and exchange views on various theatrical things. And I loved watching the little kids play.
I talked with a woman whose first grandchild is just 8 months old and she was giving me a pep talk on the joys of grandparenthood, which I didn't need, but loved hearing anyway!
The party had started at 5, so we ate, drank, had dessert, and were picking up our souvenir wine glasses and heading out the door by 7:30. It seemed longer, but we really had a fantastic time and I'm so pleased we were included in the party.
Happy Birthday, Jim...and I really do
mean "welcome to the 60s!" -- Walt just thought you looked much too young to
be 60, I guess!
PHOTO OF THE DAY
This is entry #2897