Wednesday, October 23, 2013

On Turning 50

My 50th birthday was Friday, and Kim threw a huge party. I’ve been to a few of these, and also some retirement parties, and found them eerily similar to memorial services, except for the relative health of the guest of honor and the less frequent crying by the attendees.

At my party the food and drink was irresistible and endless. There were tributes to my life, such as the creative one my daughter put together, pictured above. Amy also produced a slide show that ran on a continuous loop throughout the evening on our television. Several guests remarked about the disproportionate number of photos, especially from my younger days, that featured dead animals. What can I say? Whenever we killed something Dad pulled out the camera.

At this party there were several people meeting one another for the first time, as might occur at a funeral, their friendship with me being the common thread. I liked the party very much. I didn’t feel dead at all. Well done, Kim.

My birthday just happened to fall on a full moon. We took a few shots of the moon as it rose over the cove across the street from my house, just as the party was kicking off.

After I graduated from college we lived in Cleveland for a couple of years, and made lifelong friends there. Six of these friends drove all the way to Maine for this party. Wow! We didn’t have enough room for everyone in our house, but our neighbor across the street was away on vacation, so she lent us her house for three nights. Wow again!

Jessica, who is an occupational therapist by day and a badass cake chef by night, made this incredible Red Sox cake and escorted it all the way from Cleveland without damage.

Friends came from all around Maine as well. There were about 50 people in attendance. I’ve been to parties with 50 people before. Being an introvert, I usually seek out the 3 to 5 friends I am most comfortable with and hang close to them for the evening. When you’re the guest of honor, however, you need and want to spend significant time with everyone at your party. But of course that’s impossible unless the party is 12 hours long, which this one wasn’t. I bounced around as much as I could. I spoke at least briefly with everyone, but failed to spend quality time with every guest. I’m sure they understand.

Even though I promised Lynn I would stop doing this at parties, I recited my version of The Unfortunate Popcorn Incident to a largely sympathetic audience.

Because of the unusually warm October evening, we made it an indoor/outdoor affair. This was the first big party that showcased Kim’s new patio in conjunction with our deck. It was a huge hit. We had a wood fire in the outdoor fireplace, and we also lit up our propane patio heater. Those babies retail for about $200 but Kim found a perfectly good one on craigslist for $30.

In the invitation Kim specified "no gifts necessary", but you know how that goes. So, what do you get the wheelchair guy who has everything? You get him a few bottles of wine and a boatload of gift certificates to his favorite restaurants. I won’t need my wallet at Snow Squall for quite some time.

Throughout the weekend Louie, the world’s greatest Cleveland sports fan, and I argued about sports, politics, religion, music, technology, education, and a few other things. We never get angry with one another, and we never change one another's minds either. Nevertheless, there’s nobody's deaf ears I'd rather have my opinions fall on than my good friend Louie's.

On Saturday, we took the Clevelanders to our favorite establishment on the pier, Portland Lobster Company, for one last afternoon of eating and drinking in the sun. It was unusually warm, and the band played classic tunes from our era. Somebody put them up to singing Happy Birthday to me. I filed an official protest, as this was not officially my birthday anymore. I was ignored.

If you're reading this blog post in an email, you'll have to go to the original post to watch the short video above. Below are a couple of still shots from Portland Lobster Company.

2013 10 437

2013 10 436

We topped it all off with a lobster bake at our house Saturday night, and everyone was gone early on Sunday morning. There – I think we’re done with summer now.

2013 10 460

This extended birthday weekend reminded me of a few things:
1. 50 is old, especially when it feels like 80
2. I have more great friends than anyone deserves
3. My daughter is remarkable (my son was at college, but he is remarkable too)
4. My wife is crazy awesome (I bet you didn’t know that)
5. I have to somehow top this party next year when Kim turns 50. Email me ideas at


  1. Happy Birthday Mitch. Your party was cannot beat lobster, love and loyal wife and friends.
    Greek's Mom

  2. What a great party that must have been. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

  3. Welcome to the 50s Mitch. Glad you're still here and enjoying the ride.

  4. Greek's Mom, thanks for stopping by and commenting. You're right, it was a memorable weekend!

    Muffie, thanks for the birthday wishes.

    Darren, you're already there? I had you pegged as much younger.