Somebody decided it would be a good idea to throw a party to draw attention to the fact that I’m turning 50. Getting to half-a-hundred is no accomplishment; it just means I’m still breathing. We decided to ask people to come together so I could thank those who have helped me along the way. The invitations were mailed and/ or e-mailed and people showed up.
The theme was “worlds collide.” Family, friends, co-workers from media and healthcare, folks from the church and a couple of crashers all mingled essentially without incident. There was intrigue, hazing, hilarity and a good dose of dancing. There were no fights and nobody got arrested, so I guess we can say the evening was a success.
Did I say “hazing?” A long time ago, when I was a TV sportscaster, I was on my way to cover a ball game when someone asked me if I had the proper credential. Joking, I said “My face is my pass.” As you can imagine, this phrase has been permanently attached to me. My friends will not let it die. In fact, several of them showed up at the party in tee shirts that said “My face is my present.”
Since worlds were colliding, at least half the people in the room didn’t get the joke. So, naturally somebody had to grab a microphone and tell (er, wildly embellish) the story. This led to a series of alarmingly exaggerated tales of my misdeeds. Finally, I just had to say, “Hey, a lot of these people don’t know about my former scorched-earth philosophies.”
There were some great reunions. The four-person KTBS sports staff from the early 1980’s was together for the first time in a quarter-century.
Embedded in the tee shirt group are five guys who in various combinations worked together in the KTAL sports department in the 1990’s and some who worked together at KSLA and some who worked together at KTBS. (There was a lot of moving around in local TV).Almost everybody was there.
At one point, we tried to assemble an all-inclusive group of people who had worked with me in local TV. There were sportscasters, anchors, producers, a PM Magazine host, a feature reporter and more.
Two former general managers showed up. (One who had replaced the other. Worlds collide!)Somehow, they missed the photo, as did one of our oldest friends, who was a local anchor for a couple of decades. She hung out, though.
There were radio people: a very popular local morning show host and a veteran newswoman were among those who were there to celebrate.
There was even a network television sports anchor there to spice things up.
My dentist was there! (He was my freind before he was my dentist).
So was my insurance agent and his spectacular wife, who have been great friends to us for 25 years.
Many of my young friends arrived early. Some of them stayed late.The neighborhood was represented, too. The fine folks from across the street were all smiles.
My father showed up, stayed late and held court with many visitors.
Somehow,my sweet mother-in-law avoided the camera. But, she was there looking lovely.
My son was fascinated with the band, particularly the fetching lead singer; and who can blame him?
I got to dance with my girls, although I can’t say for sure whether my wife or I had a more difficult time letting go and relaxing. We were, after all, hosting a party and there’s pressure involved in all that.
My daughter, who arrived only hours earlier from a mission trip to Mexico, kept things lively and partied all night and into the morning. Consider it college prep, I guess.
Talk about party pressure: There were several people in attendance who have the ability to fire me in the blink of an eye, including my company’s CEO.
The bosses and their spouses were fully engaged, several of them even dancing with the birthday boy.
Yes, I danced. If you can’t dance at 50, when can you dance?
The lifelong best friend, one of his brothers and one of his sisters were there with spouses in tow. He has more stories to tell than anybody, but God bless him; he never grabbed a microphone.
With the party successfully behind us, I’m sitting back waiting for stories to emerge.
The worlds collided without cataclism and now I can once again concentrate on the center of my universe:
Happy birthday to me.