On Friday, we had dinner at Huber's in Portland (noted for its fantastic turkey dinners) to celebrate my mother's 80th birthday. Apparently, I have been living in a cave (probably populated solely by aging males) because I was totally unaware that big birthdays call for big events -- where halls are rented, calves are fattened and slaughtered, and walls are festooned with pictures that would be at home in a celebrity's biography. In other words, celebrating a birthday should have the annoyance factor of a modern wedding.
Instead, I opted for a family dinner where we could actually talk to one another without needing to put on a performance. (OK. I put on a performance, but it was for 8 other people. There are some personality traits tat seem to be out of my control.)
The list was short: my mother, her best friend, my brother, his wife, his daughter, his son and wife (plus their 3-month old baby), and me. It was an evening of flowers, cards, and small gifts. And great conversation.
At one point, Mom left the table. When she did not return for about 15 minutes, we started to get worried. We found her watching the basketball game cheering on her Blazers. Apparently, pro basketball players have more magic than the rest of us.
This morning I drove back to Portland to celebrate Christmas in March with nearly the same cast of characters (minus the baby and his mother). We have had a rule for several years now that gifts are forbidden at Christmas. My mother has never followed the rule. As a result, I left with my swag in tow -- four high-quality pans just right for the trip to Mexico, two new shirts, a book, a Starbucks card, a puzzle mouse pad, and something else that slips my mind. But it was the fellowship that made the day.
Mom and Ruth (her friend) leave for a week in Mazatlán on Monday. I should personally warn Nancy that the two of them are invading her new home town.
You will note two items are missing. First, my brother and I were unable to arrange a time to fly to Mexico together. I may need to take a trip down in May on my own. Second, we did not have the opportunity to talk with Mom about what she is going to do when she winds down her real estate business. That will have to wait until she returns from Mazatlán.