You know that you will enjoy it when you get there!

I had a big boy’s birthday last week, I’d reached such a great age that I didn’t wish to be reminded of it.  All I wanted to do was ignore it and hope that it would pass unnoticed.  What would life be like if parties had never been invented?  Tents would still be used, but now solely for a place for boy scouts and campers to sleep. 

 We are not programmed to enjoy parties that much. Think; when you were little you liked your teddy and you liked your mother and father, but other children were the enemy.  You were forced to go and sit quietly until one of your enemy’s mothers comes up and makes you join in.  Then when you were older going through the “Rite of Passage” and another enemy’s mum finds you face down in her flower bed sometime around dawn.  And then when you are married you get into huge trouble for dancing with the wrong girl, in the wrong way, for far too long!  So there you have it, I’m not programmed to be a party goer but more to the point I’m not happy being old in the first place and I certainly have no wish to broadcast it.  However as I am now so old I am now wise enough to know when I should do as I am told, especially when it is my dear wife ‘Pollyanna’ who is doing the telling.

Then number one son and his lovely wife announce that they would like to honour my great age by hosting a party for me.  In fact it will give the game away as it is to be a “We can’t believe he’s eighty party”.  Is it butter or margarine?  Now my wife tells me “You will enjoy it”!  Well she didn’t say that exactly she said “Come on you know you’ll enjoy it”! But I knew what she meant.  She didn’t exactly lick her handkerchief before rubbing a non-existent smudge from my face before we left for the party but it was certainly reminiscent of long ago parties.  Thinking on the way to my son’s house, I smile and think “Now that I’m old perhaps I’ll get to dance with the wrong sort of girl in the wrong way for too long” without getting a rollicking for it.

When we arrive at the party there are dozens of old friends and much loved relations there and I feel a bit overwhelmed.  One who is part of my extended family and has been my son’s best friend since they were a mischievous seven years old.  He’s now fifty five years old with middle age spread and a teacher at a local public school.  I always call him my second son.  There were some of the ‘Jolly Boys’ from my gym who rather suspiciously appeared to be on their best behaviour.

There was my beautiful granddaughter with her husband and if that wasn’t enough to make me aware of my age there too was her younger brother, my 24 year old grandson.  He was tippling ten year old straight malt whisky and expounding on its depth of flavour and later began tasting wine like a professional Sommelier.  (My daughter told me later when they got him home he was chilling out on the carpet and in her bad books)  I managed to convince her that this was a necessary “Rite of Passage” a ritual that everyone goes through to move on to the next stage of their life.  Been there done that!

There were my late sister’s kids together with their lovely kids and the great thing about that is that those lovely kids have all turned into lovely adults.  Yey! A party without children, someone must have realised that other children are the enemy.  The party isn’t looking too bad now and I might get to dance with the wrong girl in the wrong way for too long!  I’ve been making notes of likely lasses.  Perhaps like my grandson I’ve gone through my own “Rite of Passage” and have gone through a transition and my change of status has moved on from my dislike of parties to actually enjoying them.  I’ve not exactly become a party animal perhaps that will come later.

My celebrations haven’t yet finished because next Friday my favourite Niece has invited me to dine at my favourite Fish Restaurant in my favourite English village and whose menu costs a lot more than a whole book of stamps, all to celebrate my great age.

I keep telling anyone who will listen that old age begins fifteen years from now.  Now where can I find the wrong lady to dance with in the wrong way for too long?

About Jake

Long retired travel writer, author and freelance journalist. Educated at Wolverton Grammar and Greenwich Naval College. Happily married since 1958, with a married son and daughter, a married granddaughter and an adult grandson. Hobbies rock-climbing, dinghy racing and ocean racing. Still regularly working out in the gym.

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