66 is not a prime number. It is divisible by 2, 3, 6, 11, 22 and 33 along with some other numbers that didn't come to me easily. So, turning 66 is not a prime birthday like 5 or 7 or 11 or 13 or 17 or 19 or 23 or 29 or 31 or 37 or 41 or 47 or 51 or 53 or 57 or 59 or 61 (did I get them all?) Next year, though, I'll turn 67, which is a prime number. I'd look forward to that except it would mean looking forward to one year nearer the grave.
How I came to be 66 is a mystery to me. Last I looked I was 37 and had two children aged 9 and 6. Now I have two children who will be 38 and 35 this year. How did that happen? The last 29 years have sort of sped through without passing GO and collecting $100.
On my 66th birthday I did this: had a pedicure for over half-an-hour, went to see "42" at the cinema in Southington (which I recommend highly!).after eating a chili dog for lunch and went to dinner with Bern at Luna in Cheshire where I ate raw oysters, raw clams, sesame crusted tuna and grilled sea scallops over sea weed and a creme bulea. Any meal that includes 4 things or more from the sea is a meal to remember.
Then we went to Baltimore after church on Sunday and came back Wednesday. 5 hours down and 5:25 back. Josh and Cathy hate to hear these numbers since they are always coming to CT on holidays and it takes 7 or 8 hours....
The girls were amazing. So smart, so beautiful so wondrous. Well, I guess anyone would say that about their grandchildren. But Morgan, Emma and Tegan are all that and moreso.
We had Tegan all day Monday and Tuesday and on Tuesday I went to pick up Emma and Morgan at 3:15 at the Calvert School. On Monday they had ballet which is more important than grandparents so they didn't get home until Cathy picked them up after 5.
Here's something that ties together the Calvert pick-up and being 66: when I got there, following Cathy's directions, I was 15 minutes early and, because I'd been drinking a lot of fluid to keep my allergy mucus loose, I needed to pee. You are the only ones that will know this, but I had an empty water bottle in my car and peed into it and poured it out before going over to gather the girls. What a humbling thing peeing in a water bottle is.
And, since Cathy had emailed a picture of me to the school so they'd know it was okay for me to gather Morgan and Emma, the elegant black man/assistant principal standing in front of the door to the school, said, "you must be Jim Bradley". I agreed and a call over his walkie-talkie brought them tumbling out, wild with excitement to be picked up by their Grampie.
On the way back to their house, following Cathy's precise directions, Morgan kept telling me 'this is right, Grampie". Emma didn't seem to have a clue.
Morgan also found a lighter in the back seat and asked me what it was. "A lighter", I told her. And when she persisted about why I had it in my car I told her I smoked cigarettes from time to time. At that they both started yelling at me in that way that makes an oppositional personality like mine want to light up in front of them.But I didn't.
And all that reminds me of a poem I wrote a few years ago. I think I'll try to reproduce it here.
When I tell my granddaughters about Junkos
“Let me tell you about these little birds,”
I'll say, “that I saw in Seattle....”
(There will be lots of questions then:
“Where's Seattle?” “Is it far?”
“Can we go there?” “How'd you go?”
They move along a story
the way they pump the swings
in the park down from their house--
quickly, rising higher, full of wonder.)
Then I'll tell them how the cook
in the conference center where I was,
saw me watching the little birds.
He was smoking a cigarette,
watching me watch the birds
while I smoked as well.
(I'll leave out the part about cigarettes.
Let their parents deal with that someday....)
“They're called Junkos,” he called to me.
“The little birds?” I asked.
He nodded and blew smoke.
I jerked my head as one flew by,
almost skimming the grass.
He told me there were two kinds.
The ones with gray heads were just Junkos
and the ones with black heads were called
'hooded Junkos' with their black hoods.
Junkos are small and quick.
Swallow like, with long splashes of white
on their wings when they fly.
Curious birds, a couple hopped
into the meeting room we used,
craning their necks and watching us
for a while, wondering about us,
I suppose, then hopped back out
the door we left open
because of the heat.
I told the cook about Junko visits
and he replied they came in the kitchen
from time to time,
I imagine Junkos
live in the East, as well,
and my granddaughters
could see them some day
I could look it up
before I tell them
in the green bird book
my friend John loaned me,
mostly forever, because
I love birds.
I could show the girls
the color plates of birds--
a multitude of them--
which I sometimes just
look at without reading the names.
But I don't think I'll research Junkos
before I see the girls.
I'd rather just wonder if I'll
ever see one here, in the East,
or if they live only on the Pacific
side of this wide land.
I like to wonder about stuff like that--
even stuff I could Google and know.
So I'll just tell them how much
I loved watching the Junkos
and leave it at that.
Let them wonder about the birds.
It's always good, I believe,
to wonder about things.
I pray those little girls,
will never stop wondering.
That is what I pray.