Sunday, July 28, 2013

Virgin Voyage


Today was my first Facebook birthday. Quite an experience! If I’m lucky these days, I get two or three birthday cards in the mail— and one of them is from my Insurance Company! But today I sorted through some 150 birthday greetings from friends, colleagues and acquaintances far and wide. No need to guess why the disparity— the difference between seeing someone’s birthday pop up on Facebook and taking five seconds to write two words and picking out an expensive card, getting a stamp at the post office, writing a few sentences, inserting the card in the envelope, closing it, writing (or stamping) your return address, putting the stamp on it, taking it to a mailbox— well, needless to say, that’s quite a difference.

But still the impulse to send a birthday wish is a friendly one and it always feels good to know that someone is thinking (kindly) of you. I took a moment to try to visualize the particular path-crossing I had with each person and that was a good exercise. Of course, most of it had to do with music teaching (duh!), but still a pleasure to remember something about each person and the circumstance of our meeting.

Truth be told, the day itself could have been better. Woke up late, rushed around to finish packing, close out the house, run to the bank, drop in to see my Mom. She started off very lucid and after a little echo-type game similar to granddaughter Zadie (played this yesterday), got her to say the words Happy Birthday. I thanked her for everything she gave to me—including my life— played a little piano and wheeled her around for a walk, but by the end, she was getting agitated and it was time for lunch.

Then to school to pack some more, set off two alarms, figured out how to silence them before the police came and took off to pick up my great friends and colleagues, Rick and Paul at the airport. Both their planes were coming in at 1:30 and both ended up 20 minutes delayed. So I circled around four times before they finally showed up. Then a 3-hour drive to Carmel Valley to kick-off the 30th Orff Summer Course.

After the marathon Facebook check-in, helped lead the opening session, ending with a birthday cake (thanks to James!) and 100 people singing in tune. I can’t tell you what they sang, because apparently we would then have to pay royalties on the song (have you been following the Mildred and Patty Hill case?), but —hint, hint—it was something related to the occasion.

Well, truly, no need to fuss any more about birthdays at my advanced age. And like many, would ultimately prefer a quiet dinner with a few well-chosen old friends and/or family. But it was fine to get all the shout-outs and tomorrow back to work. The real work of building community and joyful communion. And most important of all, future Facebook friends for next year’s birthday!

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