My birthday falls just shy of mid-month (13th), and most of what I've got on tap will happen prior to that date. But as new ideas dance in front of me like devil-may-care congo dancers, the list of stuff to do just keeps growing. I'm exercising my executive privilege to include an activity from April 30 in the mix of my birthday joy. Some may think this one isn't particularly joyful, but it was special to me, and that is the final--and only--criteria necessary.
After leaving Norfolk, VA Sunday morning following a Templar event, I headed up the road to Richmond, and the Hollywood Cemetery. A few years ago, thanks to cemetery and historical records becoming available online to aid genealogy research, I located the remains of my great-great-grandmother's brother. William Dowse Whitehead was a young man with a hope-filled horizon in front of him when he enlisted with the Second Georgia Infantry to serve the cause of the confederacy. Color-bearer for his regiment, he was killed in the Battle of Malvern Hill 1 July, 1862,at the tender age of 21. I know the details of this uncle five generations in the past because his portrait hung in our dining room while I was growing up. And we, like my mother before us, learned to recite these specifics about Uncle Willie. I also hold in my possession letters that he wrote home to his family from various encampments as part of his service, offering a tender, personal connection to this member of my family. This was a grievous loss to my great-great-grandmother, and it was really for her, to whom I also feel some attachment, that I made the pilgrimage to Richmond.
After Richmond I traveled on to Great Falls, VA, to visit with dear friends from St. Louis days. Their easy and comfortable hospitality is always a joy into which to sink and put my feet up, and I left there the following morning renewed and reconnected. That night, back on home turf, I ventured out to Tom Ryan's book signing at a nearby library, having listened to the newly released Will's Red Coat in audio form on my way north from Virginia. It was a delightful evening, and though I took Cassie with me she was road-weary and shy.
The days have been full, and they feed my spirit. Tomorrow I head to Maine to fetch Raisa, and I am working in a few little delights along the way as additional parts of my celebration. I only turn 60 once, and I plan to make it count. Try to keep up! ;)