Homefront #6: The weekend of my 80th birthday

It’s not hard to get old.  Just keep breathing and having birthdays, and one day you’ll wake up and wonder where the time went and why everyone is looking at you as if you were ancient.  You have arrived. 

The eightieth is one of the big birthdays of this earthly existence….if you can get one.  I just experienced mine, with no one here to sing to me except my wife.

The backstory to that is that my older son Neil, living in Mobile, AL, had made plans to have a family-type shindig on Saturday and invite in extended family and close friends.  A couple of weeks ago, however, they shut that down.  I completely agreed with the decision.

So, Bertha and I stayed home.  The one time I left the house was to drive to Outback and pick up dinner. They bring it to the car in a sack and I hand the money through the window.  So, my birthday dinner was sharing a 9 ounce “Outback Special,” which is our favorite, along with their salad and incredible baked potato.  For dessert, we’re still working on the Chantilly, a fruit-covered delicacy from Whole Foods.

Through the day, I spent a lot of time on the laptop fielding birthday wishes and notes from friends far and wide, old and new, blood relations and otherwise.  I read some books–a western novel, a book on Abraham Lincoln’s second inauguration, and one on Wake Island in World War 2.

And I read to Bertha.

I love to read aloud, so once in a while, Bertha and I will agree on a book and I will read a chapter or two each night.  The one we’re doing now is Kenneth Robert’s 1930-ish historical novel set in the 1700’s in New England, titled Arundel.  This is not bubble gum for the brain, as is some of the stuff I enjoy. This is educational, deep, historically accurate, and dense. And fascinating.

I recommend Kenneth Roberts’ books, particularly for those who love American history. This is the real stuff.

Two newspaper headlines this Sunday morning…

–“Onslaught hasn’t hit yet” is a prediction from someone that the worst of the pandemic is yet to occur.  May be.  But I remind Bertha this is “unprecedented, uncharted waters” which no one has experienced, so saying “the worst is yet to come” is guesswork.

–Above that headline, a smaller inset reads:  “In labs around world, coronavirus researchers find reason for optimism.”  That’s more like it!

So, we have the bad news/good news.  God grant that the good is the reality!

We heard two worship services today.

At 10 am, we caught the live-streaming service from First Baptist Columbus MS where I preached last Sunday and will preach the four Sundays of April.  Since we had planned to miss today due to the birthday thing (family members still being here), the church lined up a guest minister to supply.  Sam Ivy is the student minister for the Baptist collegiate work at East Central Community College, here in Mississippi.  Sam preached on Romans 12, a favorite passage of mine.  Some good stuff and the music was terrific.

At 11 am, we switched over to the livestream from our church, the First Baptist of Jackson MS in time to hear Pastor Chip Stevens preach.  His message was on the Prodigal Son from Luke 15. What a great message from an outstanding preacher.

After “church,” Bertha and I took the dog to the reservoir and walked around, chatting with a few people, but keeping our distance.  We came home and ate a lunch, then got our naps.  (This self-isolating isn’t all that bad.  In fact, much of it resembles retirement!)

Tomorrow I have a doctor’s appointment.  

It’s with my audiologist and possibly a quick visit with the E-N-T, as they share the same office.

They sent out a list of requirements and no-nos.  So, we’ll see how this goes.

Do you suppose I could run by Wal-Mart on the way home, if I’m careful?  I’m trying to decide.

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