It was my lucky day. Recently I was fortunate
enough to turn 60. I say fortunate enough because in the last year,
two of my high school friends were deprived of doing just that and
even my own mother didnt make it that far, so 60 is kind of a
milestone. Ive never been one to really get nuts about birthdays
ending in 0 although I do remember not being too happy about turning
10. Something about moving into double digits and losing afternoon
recess all in the same year.
Lynn thought we should do something special. I
was already thinking of doing something special: the Eagles were on
television here, which doesnt happen too often, against
Jacksonville. Whoa, baby, what a clunker that turned out to be.
Fortunately, she had bigger ideas. She thought it would be a
terrific idea to spend my 60th birthday in my favorite
place on this earth, London, England. This was the offer I couldnt
We did a lot of walking around like we always do
when we visit places. What I like so much about London is its
ambience, just being there. Everything there is so, well, English.
We took a spin on British Airways'
London Eye which you may know of as the Millennium Wheel, a giant
Ferris wheel almost 450 feet high. The ride is one time around which
takes about 30 minutes. One gets a great view of London and
most of the attached pictures are from there.
When we visit London, we like to see a show or
two. This time we had no tickets in advance so we went to TKTS to
see what was available. We found something called "Dancin in the
Streets." I love that name; it conjures up such happy images. You
may remember that as the title of a song by Martha and the Vandellas
from 1964 (what?!? you werent even born yet in 64??) and this was
indeed a whole show featuring Motown music. We love that stuff so we
went. Not too surprisingly, there were several songs by Smokey
Robinson. When the second act started, the guy who was acting as the
emcee said they were going to do those two or three songs again
because seated in the audience several rows from the stage was
Smokey Robinson himself. He waved to the crowd but didnt get up on
stage. It seems that he was a little late getting to the show.
Around the corner from this theater is Craven St.
which runs the length of Charing Cross Station. The house at
36 Craven St. was the home of Benjamin Franklin and has been
recently restored. Herman Melville also lived on that street. Nearby
is one of those quintessentially English pubs, this one called
Sherlock Holmes. We went there after the show for some fine
English ale. It was very crowded inside and because it was a
pleasantly warm evening, we sat at an outdoor table. There were
about ten other people outside, too. The hour was approaching
midnight, and my actual birthday, so at about three minutes before
the hour, Lynn, who likes to say shes quiet and shy and tryin to
get by, got up and announced that I was about to turn 60 and would
everyone please sing Happy Birthday to me. One of the young guys at
the table next to us asked my name so that he could sing in a
"proper" way. And that they certainly did. When we got to the
airport in Amsterdam, the immigration officer, who are usually very
business-like and unsmiling, looked at my passport and gave me a
Let me pause here a moment to reflect. Ive
written more than 40 of these pieces in the almost two years weve
lived in the Netherlands and I hope Ive conveyed a sense of what
weve seen and how much weve enjoyed it. But I dont think Ive
ever publicly acknowledged just how much joy Lynn has brought to my
life and I want to do that now. We got started a little late and
only about two weeks ago celebrated our 13th anniversary.
Its been the best 13 years I could have ever imagined. For reasons
that are still unclear to me, she believes in me and loves me
without reservation. She lifts my spirits and keeps me grounded. She
is the light and the love of my life. So, Lynn, I want to thank you
for being so good to, and for me. Youre the best and I love you
madly. This whole Europe thing has been amazing, and because Im
only 60, I look forward to our golden anniversary in only 37 years.
See other pictures of London.
See videos from London.