Louisiana birthday

jumbo
The pot is much larger than it appears.

I STIRRED UP a nice pot of jambalaya today for my 74th birthday.

Years ago, in Mexico, I fixed jambalaya much more frequently. I rarely make it now, but special occasions call for special food. There will be no cake.

I also whip together a passable gumbo, but that’s even more labor-intensive. I may never do that again, but who knows? But I’m lazy.

I lived in New Orleans for 18 years if you don’t know. Both my first wife and my daughter were born in New Orleans, a place that forms odd people.

Time passes far more quickly as you age. Not just years, but weeks and months, even days. It’s a strange phenomenon. So, here I am at 74, just one year younger than my father when he died of a heart attack. In spite of getting annual physicals, there had been no indication of any heart issues for him.

So much for annual physicals.

Apart from a lower energy level, I had no age-related issues until I hit 73. That’s when I really started noticing. Now I feel it, but I still get around pretty good. There’s the occasional wobble.

Aside from anything major, probably the most noticeable change that comes with age is the loss of sure-footedness. This in spite of my doing more exercise than most people my age, plus the significant issue of possessing a child bride.

This afternoon, as I toss Tabasco hot sauce (from Avery Island, Louisiana) on my bowl of jambalaya, I’ll wonder if I’ll make it to 75 or, even more significantly, to 76, something my father did not manage to accomplish.

Felíz cumpleaños to me!*

* * * *

* And just like last year, my child bride forgot.

63 thoughts on “Louisiana birthday

  1. Last month, I passed my 90th, something I never expected to see. Like you, I have low energy, and I find that a lot of things can be put off until tomorrow. I still drive and shop for groceries, so consider myself doing okay. But I am beginning to think about the things I wished I had done, but never got around to, like a cross-country rail trip. Too late now. But I’m glad I’ve made it this far.

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    1. Phil: Good Lord, man, you’re museum quality! A neighbor here in my ramshackle barrio is on the cusp of 90, and he too drives everywhere, doesn’t even wear glasses. Maybe he has contacts. I don’t really regret having not done much of anything because I’ve done a lot of fun stuff, often to my mother’s dismay (R.I.P.) but that’s not an issue anymore. I would have liked to learn scuba, but I’m not gonna mess with it now. Back in the 1970s, I played with the idea of bicycling the perimeter of Puerto Rico where I lived, but never did. Maybe fewer wives and its accompanying horrors, but I ended up pretty good in that department. Hang in there.

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  2. Happy birthday, amigo.

    Your rumination on time is — well, timely. It is just past noon, and I have had breakfast and have written an essay. I was positive it could not be past 9.

    My recent weight loss has regained some of my balance and sure-footedness. But that may be nothing more than the phenomenon of seeming to recover from an illness before dying in the next five minutes.

    I wish you a cartload of healthy future birthdays.

    As for me, my genes are a crap shoot. On my father’s side, my ancestors died at 74, 52, and 93. On my mother’s: 87, 77, 100. That is quite a range. If I am headed to 100, that IRA is looking a little skinny. So far, I have outlived only one of the six.

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    1. Señor Cotton: I too have a wide gene spread in the age department. As noted, my father only made it a bit over a year more than I am right now. My mother, however, made it to 90. But she was not in good shape her last few years. I prefer going out like a light while seemingly healthy, but not anytime soon. I’m having far too good a time of it.

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  3. Happy Birthday, señor! Unfortunately, you have discovered, like many, myself included, that you are running out of birthdays. May you be blessed with many more.

    I did notice that you gave away the secret for why your child bride has stayed with you all this time: she does not know how old you are. Hopefully, she does not read this blog.

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    1. Ricardo: Gracias! Oh, she knows how old I am. She just has the memory of a tree trunk regarding some matters. She excuses herself by claiming that due to having been raised with about 1,000 siblings, there were too many to celebrate birthdays, so they didn’t. And she pays it no mind.

      Strangely, I did get a birthday greeting this afternoon from my last wife. But not from my current nor my first.

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  4. Time flies when you are having fun. So noted. We are stuck at our base in San Antonio after having traveled the last 20 years. This place needs to be spiffed up in case we want to sell. It’s too big for just us, but when the children and children’s children drop in, it gets too small. Anyway we’ll be ready to fly this coop if we decide to before one of us takes a dirt nap.

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      1. My reference as far as a smaller house is to our cottage in Canada where I could stand in the center of the living/dining/kitchen area and pretty much see the rest of the house. Less housekeeping (no need for hired help as we have here in SA) and a natural yard except for mowing grass. A sweet little place on a lake. If it could have been magically transported to TX, it’s where we would live.

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        1. Carole: Your Canada place sounds like our Mexico City apartment. There too we can stand in the living room, and see the rest of the place. That can be overdone, I think. As for hired help, we really should get some here where we live. We just keep putting it off.

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    1. Jode: Well, look who’s here! And thanks. Yes, most Virgos make their appearance in September. My child bride is one of them, three weeks ahead. I don’t forget birthdays, so we’ll be celebrating hers in a posh hotel in the middle of Guadalajara, a city I have not visited in 17 years even though it’s closer to us than Mexico City where we visit way too often. I hope all is adequately well with you.

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  5. Happy Birthday, Felipe. I’m not a big celebrator of anything, and don’t care if anyone forgets them. I don’t knowingly evade them, but am not one to greet someone with Happy New Year. It just doesn’t matter to me.

    I, at a mere 69, have some footwork issues. I have poor circulation in my feet. I don’t fall or anything, just sometimes don’t lift my feet high enough. I played sports and was physically active all my life, which may be part of my problem. I have broken both ankles, one of them twice, and sprained them dozens of times. Could that, causing who knows what scar tissue, be the reason?

    In my next life, I will come back as a sloth.

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    1. Kris: Gracias. As for celebrations, they have their place, I think. And they can be overdone too. So you’re 69? You could be my younger brother.

      As for broken bones, I’ve never had a broken bone in my life. Knock on wood. (I just did.) May it continue so. I’m a lucky boy in some respects. In others, not so much.

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      1. The first time I broke both at the same time. Rolled one then the other in a high school basketball game. As for celebrations, I don’t avoid them, just don’t invigorate them.

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        1. Kris: Well, we can rest assured that I will not be playing in any basketball games, so I hope I’ll continue with no broken bones. As for celebrations of most any sort, sounds like we have something in common. I don’t invigorate them either.

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  6. Have the merriest birthday ever, Felipe Zapata. And keep on collecting those toys, because he who dies with the most toys wins. Whenever anyone mentions downsizing, run like hell, because you really know that they’re up to no good.

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  7. Again, happy birthday. God only knows how many more we will have. We spent the morning watching John McCain’s funeral. The last song they played was “I did it my way.” I guess he didn’t have much choice in the matter, but it sure would have been nicer if he died in January. All of those people in that heat in those wool uniforms.

    Enjoy Guadalajara. But avoid staying in the historical downtown. There is a historical church on just about every corner, and they all ring bells at different times. It’ll drive you crazy.

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    1. Señor Gill: And thanks again too. As for McCain and doing it his way, from what I read, he usually did just that, often to excess. That “hero” label has no business on him. I have never read of anything heroic that he did. He got shot down and became a POW. He did manage to get back alive after years, but that doesn’t make him a hero in my book, just a very tough fellow, and he was certainly that.

      I was neither here nor there about him, till he singlehandedly scotched the Obamacare reform out of pure spite against Trump. Inexcusable.

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      1. Absolutely against my better judgment, but he did not singlehandedly bring down the vote, he was the third dissenting Republican vote. Without the other two, his vote was moot. He was just chosen as the whipping boy for the loss.

        The U.S. is the only civilized country in the world where healthcare is decided by ability to pay. That’s what John McCain, with all his foibles, was voting against.

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        1. Kris: It depends on how you look at it. Had he voted the other way, the better option would have passed. So he was the culprit, and let us do whip him.

          Currently, the U.S. healthcare system is a huge, costly mess. There is only one way to go: Up. Even if the U.S. completely adopted the Mexican system, it would be a big improvement.

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          1. Almost anything wold be an improvement. The biggest factor is the number of profit points in the ? system. The doctors have to make big bucks to pay huge student loans, the hospitals have to charge huge fees to pay dividends and profits, insurance companies have to charge huge rates to make profits and cover exorbitant charges from aforementioned doctors and hospitals and the world’s highest drug costs.

            Two solutions: single payer or fewer people making millions of dollars from the health of others. My doctor, here in Canada, was an Army trauma surgeon, was in private practice in Texas with his father, and moved to Canada 10 years ago. Small practice, he works 4 days a week, and loves it. He probably clears less than $200,000 /yr, but the lifestyle is worth millions.

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  8. Birthday wishes from the Windy City. Your colorful jambalaya looks like the perfect birthday celebratory dish. Congratulations again. Perry

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    1. Thanks, Perry. We ended up eating in a restaurant today. The jambalaya is in the fridge for tomorrow. It’s better the next day anyway.

      And my wife still hasn’t remembered it’s my birthday.

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  9. Congratulations and Happy Birthday, sir. If I was a bettin’ man, I’d take the “over.” I’ve passed my dad by six years now, and a recent scan with contrast shows my arteries are as clean as a whistle. Here’s to beating the odds. Cheers.

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    1. Ray: Thanks. I have something very important that my father lacked: a child bride. Maybe that would have kept him going longer. But all he had was the same old woman he started out with. That would be my mother. Glad to hear your arteries are clean. That’s good news.

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  10. Happy b-I-r-t-h-d-a-y to youuuu (long breathy pause), Happy Birth-day, Mr. Felipe, (another breathy pause) Hap-eeee birth-day to youuuuu! (In the theme of Marilyn Monroe sings to Mr. President Kennedy a long time ago.) Hope it was a fine day for you. Longevity on my side. Had an aunt who was 92; out mowing her long driveway on a riding mower. Hot Iowa summer day. Went indoors for a drink. Daughter found her six hours later comfortably laid out on a bed covered up with a light blanket for a short siesta after having had a cold beer at the kitchen table while working her newspaper crossword puzzle. Hope I’m as lucky.

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    1. Leisa: You sing great. Thanks. As for your aunt, that’s how I want to go too. Sounds just about perfect. She was a lucky woman. I wonder if someone had to finish the grass cutting that day, or maybe she did it all.

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      1. Nope. She never completed the mow, but I’m sure it was her intention to do so, right after that beer and siesta. And by the way, you sure are getting lots of birthday attentions here. See, big numbers do have their advantages.

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  11. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, my SKINNY FRIEND. I am on my way back to Mexico for another 7 months, my last time driving, riding the bike is out of the question. I always tell you the year ahead isn’t much different than the year before, because I get there first. Can’t say the same this time around. Energy level is way down from last year, I walk slower and my balance is a bit off. Tried tai chi. Didn’t do much, but I will be working on the balance thing once I get to Maz. Small things bother me now, more aggravation than anything, I suppose. I wish you well, and many more to come. Oh, I am the oldest in my family now, outlived them all. Who woulda thought?

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    1. Bob: I am not skinny. I am svelte! I tried tai chi years ago, in the late ’90s. I don’t think it does diddly-squat.

      Welcome back to Mexico. Just stay here. It’s nicer.

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  12. Happy Birthday, you old geezer, or Mr. Geezer, you earned that respect! I should buy a cupcake from your wife on Saturday and put some candles in it for you, but she doesn’t make any cupcakes the size of garbage can lids for all the candles. Enjoy waking up, many of our friends can’t do that anymore, which comes to my mind every day!

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      1. In your case, it really ought to be Don Geezer. You’ve earned it. By the way, a belated Happy Birthday. I’ve been out of town and thus not reading blogs. Saludos. Kim G

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  13. Well, I’m a day late……but Happy Birthday old boy!

    I turned 71 in May and, as you pointed out, time continues to move at warp-speed. My wife and I have our date night every Friday evening. It seems that when we wake up the next morning, it’s already Friday again.

    Also, I’d kill for a bowl of your jambalaya … man, that looks good!

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    1. Hi, Jeff. Better late than never, and you’re still ahead of my wife who has yet to mention it. No matter. I love her anyway.

      Yep, my jambalaya is goooood! Too bad the two of you are not here to enjoy it. Maybe one day.

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  14. Happy birthday, señor! Maybe your wife will suddenly remember your birthday, and you will be awakened by mariachis playing Las Mañanitas beneath your bedroom window. This will help you stop worrying about this getting-old business. I’ve recently played for two 96-year-olds’ birthday parties, and they looked like they weren’t a day over 90. One of them even married a 60-year-old gal during the party. Enjoy your Mexican life to the fullest. Felíz cumpleaños. P.S. Sorry for the lack of tlldas on the Spanish words.

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    1. Hola, Paul. Oh, I’m not worried about getting old, just noticing it, which is hard not to do. Surely, you know that because, if memory serves, you’re ahead of me on the longevity scale. Funny story about the old guy marrying a child bride (for him) of 60. My child bride turns 58 in about three weeks, but then I’m nowhere near 96 and, I imagine, never will be.

      Don’t worry about your machine’s lack of Spanish punctuation. I fixed it for you. No charge.

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  15. Sorry, Felipe. I missed your Day, so I’ll just hush up an say YEAH! Well, another trip around the sun is done, 365 days dead and gone, hope you relaxed and had some fun! Here’s hoping you continue to go in circles for many years to come! All the Best, Dude!

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      1. You need to swipe her cell phone and then put your birthday into it as a recurring, yearly appointment. Be sure to set a reminder a few days ahead so she can plan something stupendous.

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        1. Kim: Putting it on her phone would do no good whatsoever. She’d never see it or hear it. You don’t understand the depth of her cluelessness regarding technology. She has fine qualities in other areas, however, and I love her.

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  16. McCain’s mother was at the funeral. She is 106 years old. If you last as long, you will have another 32 years to go.

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