Doug's Diggings: Celebrating the big 6-0 was excitingI’ve always been one to celebrate birthdays without much fanfare. Oh, others have made big deals about my birthday, but my attitude has always been something to the effect, “Another year, let’s have some cake and move on!”
By: Doug Stohlberg, Hudson Star-Observer
I’ve always been one to celebrate birthdays without much fanfare. Oh, others have made big deals about my birthday, but my attitude has always been something to the effect, “Another year, let’s have some cake and move on!”
This year, however, the number caught my attention! That’s probably because the number is 60.
When you turn 60 do you start having senior moments? No, I’ve been having those for many years already. Do your knees fall apart? Do you start dribbling on your shirt and tie? I guess your physical abilities dictate more of those scenarios — and I’ve been spilling on my shirt and tie for most of my life!
Last week I put on a T-shirt to prepare for a walk. While walking my wife noted that I had the T-shirt on inside out. That may appear to be a “senior moment,” but in my defense, I’m sure my wife turned it inside out when she washed it — can’t expect me to catch that one!
Now that I’ve passed the 60 mark I’m not sure what to expect. I told somebody that in my mind I still think I’m about 48. But a page has turned and there is no choice but to plow forward. As Maurice Chevalier said when he turned 60, “Old age isn’t so bad when you consider the alternative.”
Of course, my birthday has brought on increased attention in recent years because the event falls on Sept. 11.
I don’t have a vivid recollection of most birthdays, but the one on Sept. 11, 2001, sticks in my mind much like the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated — I can tell you exactly what I was doing.
On Sept. 11, 2001, I was at home getting ready for work. My wife and I switched on the television and there were reports coming out of New York that the World Trade Center had been struck by an airplane.
I left for work, and when I arrived, the story was circulating that a second plane had struck the other tower. Someone had a spouse bring in a television set, and all of the Star-Observer staff watched as much of the television coverage as possible, and still produced a newspaper (Sept. 11 was on a Tuesday — the Star-Observer’s busy production day).
To celebrate my birthday that night, my wife and two sons and I went to the Bungalow and were four of about eight people in the entire restaurant and those there were glued to the television sets.
Fast forward to 2008.
The day involved much more excitement than I anticipated!
Thank goodness, Sept. 11, 2008, was much more uneventful on the news front. Personally, the day passed with my 60th birthday going by seemingly unnoticed! About the only excitement was my attendance at the weekly Rotary meeting — the club sang happy birthday, as is the tradition for whoever may be celebrating a birthday that week, but of course there is a catch. The birthday boy or girl is charged $10, which is collected to assist with a good cause somewhere in the world.
The only plan I knew of was an evening trip — to the Bungalow again -– for dinner. Oddly enough, I had suggested a couple of other places that didn’t seem to work quite right for other members of my family. Of course, if I were a perceptive person, I would have questioned why the request of the person celebrating a 60th birthday was not honored! But I’m a believing soul and if something doesn’t work I can respect the explanation.
The plan was to meet my sons and their spouses at 6 p.m. at the restaurant. My oldest son was at the door and when we walked in, he said “happy birthday” and mentioned that he already had a table. When I followed him into the room, here were all the Hudson Star-Observer staff members there to welcome me. What a shock! Often times, recipients of surprise parties have some clue or some inkling. I was in total shock! The staff organized the event — my wife and kids knew of it yet nobody spilled the beans! My fellow workers at the event included Alice Urban, Meg Heaton, Maggie Hall, Diane Frohlicher, Margaret Ontl, Joe Winter and Randy Hanson (and wife Dawn). Unable to attend, but wishing me well, were Willis Miller and Jon Echternacht.
I appreciate everyone’s thoughtfulness and, to our staff members — you got me! Thanks.
Thinking the birthday celebration was over, I will fast-forward to Saturday. We usually celebrate birthdays with my late sister’s family, so I was told we were going to meet at Mama Maria’s Saturday night for dinner. My son told me we were going to a movie Saturday afternoon first — it all sounded so legitimate!
As my family arrived at my house to go to the movie, my son handed me a package and said to open my birthday present.
Instead of a gift, it was the first clue of a scavenger hunt of sorts. As my wife and I spent the next hour driving all over Hudson looking for these various clues, I was getting worried that we’d be late for the movie!
The last clue directed us to my son’s house (the gift was supposedly behind the garage door). My first inkling that something was amiss was when I turned the corner and saw a street full of cars.
When I opened the garage door, many of my relatives and friends were there to yell “Surprise!” Included were many cousins who live throughout the Twin Cities area.
Got me again!
My first question was — are we still going to Mama Maria’s? The answer was “no.” My sons and their wives staged a first-rate party with a full dinner planned for the many guests. They had a slide show of my life, games for everyone, decorations everywhere throughout the house — they had been planning this thing for weeks!
Obviously I was never the recipient of a surprise party in the past — many would have been able to see through these sham stories that I took as the gospel truth!
It was a weekend filled with surprises, and I had a wonderful time.
As I enter a new decade, I thought it might be fun to read a few famous quotes regarding 60th birthdays. Here’s what a few celebrities have said when facing the big 6-0: