Happy snowy birthday, Barbara

P1240161.JPGThe birthday girl models the “grumpy cat” sweater she just finished knitting.

IMG_7955YES, I’LL STILL FEED HER, yes, I still need her, now that she’s 64.

As Barbara’s elder sister Ann, in Brisbane, wrote to her, “Now’s it’s your turn to put up with that stupid song for a year!”

Today’s my sweetie’s birthday. In 1955, five weeks before her due date, Barbara Alice Burns was born at Northgate Hospital in Seattle. In the Eisenhower administration, as the Cold War was getting serious, her parents had just moved from Massachusetts to North Seattle, and she made her debut at the shopping-mall hospital only because it was the closest to their new rental home when Barbara’s dad frantically put his ready-to-pop wife in a cab while he stayed home with their other four little ones.

“Obviously, I was born to shop,” Barbara has always said, tongue-in-cheekily referring to her birth hospital, now replaced by acres of mall parking.

This weekend, we were supposed to be celebrating with daughter Lilly in an oceanfront inn at Cannon Beach, Oregon, but the weather gods said, “Not so fast!” Phrases such as “snow apocalypse” filled the weather forecasts, convincing us that hours of driving wasn’t a good choice.

Happily, Barbara and I managed a quick overnight trip to Seattle to share some celebration time with our daughter, returning to Center Island before travel got too nasty.

P1240167.JPGIf you can’t wear sox like these when you’re 64, when can you wear them? Barbara models some birthday gifts.

As it turned out, the snow mostly bypassed our island, where we got less than 2 inches. What we got instead were more windstorms and frigid temperatures, so island life has been challenging enough in recent days. Meanwhile, Lilly got five inches of snow at Shilshole Marina where she lives with her cat, Tiberius, on our cozy old sailboat, Sogni d’Oro.

Several more inches of snow is expected across the region starting this evening (it has just started as I write this). So we might get our share of white stuff.

P1240173.JPGBucky and friends come by The Nuthatch looking for handouts in the cold of winter.

This belated winter blast has caught our island’s natural world offguard. An obviously pregnant doe has been hanging around our cabin, and when she came by yesterday I asked Barbara if she had any food I could put out for the Mama to Be. My wife handed me a bagful of small carrots and broccoli florets that we’d snacked on earlier. I tossed the carrots to Mama Deer, who eagerly chewed them down. I didn’t think broccoli would appeal to a deer, but at Barbara’s urging (“Folic acid is important for her!”) I tossed them as well, and they were gobbled right up.

P1240159.JPGDaffodils from our yard bloomed when we brought the premature buds in from the snow.

We’ve had many woodpeckers at the suet block hanging from one of our small firs, and today a big Northern flicker. Just before the snow arrived, Barbara stepped outside and cut a handful of daffodils that had already budded out in our side yard, ready to bloom in the next couple weeks. They were so tightly budded we weren’t sure they’d actually flower when brought inside, but their chances outside didn’t seem good. Happily, they’ve opened just in time to decorate the birthday dinner table. Some are small blooms, because they were preemies, just like Barbara. But they’re still beauties. Just like Barbara. 1-anchor

When I get older losing my hair, Many years from now,
Will you still be sending me a Valentine, Birthday greetings, bottle of wine?
If I’d been out till quarter to three, would you lock the door?
Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m sixty-four?
You’ll be older, too. And if you say the word
I could stay with you.
I could be handy, mending a fuse, when your lights have gone.
You can knit a sweater by the fireside, Sunday mornings go for a ride.
Doing the garden, digging the weeds, who could ask for more?
Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m sixty-four?
Every summer we can rent a cottage, in the Isle of Wight, if it’s not too dear.
We shall scrimp and save.
Grandchildren on your knee: Vera, Chuck and Dave.
Send me a postcard, drop me a line, stating point of view.
Indicate precisely what you mean to say: yours sincerely, wasting away.
Give me your answer, fill in a form, mine for evermore.
Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m sixty-four?
— John Lennon / Paul McCartney

6 thoughts on “Happy snowy birthday, Barbara

    1. OK, dear sister-in-law, but in this use the word doesn’t mean elderly, it simply means “older” (which might have been a more diplomatic choice of word, I acknowledge). It was necessary to mention the age difference in order for the quip to make sense. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  1. A perfect tribute to 64. . .just brace for 65 when Medicare and Supplement become everyday phrases. Just had my first “Medicare Wellness Exam” and I am still wondering why I traveled half way around the world to come back for my ‘physical’ which wasn’t. . .but we’ve determined I can draw the face of a clock and put in the hands to reflect the time as directed by smiling Miss Nurse. Ah, old age is a wonder. . .Barbara, the fun is just beginning!! Happy Birthday to you!


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