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LUNCH WITH BILLY BONES
June 17, 2014
My mother may sit in her chair, in her apartment, looking at trees and wondering if it is hot or cold outside because she doesn't feel like moving her hand 6" to open the door and find out, and ask repeatedly if I think she's going to live to "hunert," but today I had lunch with a guy who reached that milestone three days ago...and he's definitely not sitting in a chair contemplating anything. In fact he has rented a villa in Greece for himself and his family to spend their vacation next year. Bill is not letting grass grow under his 100 year old feet!
Bill Baker retired as Senior Scientist from the UC Berkeley Radiation Laboratory many years ago, but he continues to invent things and figure out ways to make life better for everyone.
In addition to being a retired Senior Scientist, Bill is also known by "Billy Bones" when he attends the annual Pirate Festival in Vallejo, CA (about 3/4 of an hour's drive fromwhere he lives), which he did on Sunday, the day after he turned 100. Not embarrassed to travel by wheel chair or walker, as some woman I know is, he was there enjoying the fun -- eating, drinking rum, and getting lots of kisses from the pirate maids in attendance.
They even wrote a song about him, which they sang at the festival.
The day before, on Saturday, some 40 people, mostly family, he tells me, got together to celebrate Bill's 100th birthday.
(That cake, with the "100" on it, is a pirate chest. It was also delicious.)
The house was decorated with story boards, each of which described a decade of Bill's life, whether involving him personally, or what was happening in the world (actually a combination of the two).
There were 100 balloons (I don't know how they didn't lift him up and carry him off!)
And obviously it was a glorious celebration of 100 years well lived.
I "met" Bill a few years back through his blog (which he calls an "entertainment ezine"), which was at that time hosted by Open Diary. Open Diary has now closed and they are trying other sites, but now it seems that the way the blog gets to people is by e-mailed link. I met him through Wilma, his blogging friend, who lives in Canada, where she is a newspaper editor and lay minister.
Today was my day to have my annual visit with Bill and Wilma. Wilma has been coming down once a year for the last five years to help Bill celebrate his birthday. This year was particularly difficult for her, since she'd had her own physical problems which made it difficult to travel, but she was here and made a lovely lunch for the three of us. For dessert, Bill cut a piece of the top of his birthday cake, the lid of the pirate chest.
After lunch, while Bill cleaned the kitchen, Wilma and I sat out on the patio, listening to the birds in the trees and watching the tiny little birds hopping about on the ground, and we had our annual chat. Because we really don't know each other all that well, it always takes a bit of time to get into the meat of a real "visit," but we always do sooner or later and I thoroughly enjoyed my chat with Wilma. She is particularly interesting because she is Canadian and can compare Canadian and US politics (she assures me that Mayor Rob Ford, while a social embarrassment, is actually quite a good mayor)
I left Bill's house around 3 and was ahead of rush hour traffic all the way home. Wilma will be leaving at 5 a.m. to start her return trip home, so I was very lucky that we were able to find a date that worked for the both of us, that I was able to wish Bill a happy hunert birthday and have my annual catch up session with Wilma.
Plus it gave me something interesting to write in my "a day in the life of me" for a SwapBot swap. Win-win all around.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
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