Al Green Knits a Happy 90th Birthday

There are days that are right for me, when my life fits me well and I am joyful.  Today I felt that I was in the right place, doing what I should be doing, and at peace about my future.  I used to be in a perpetual state of trying to get somewhere, always on a journey, always pushing.  My enjoyment of those journeys was limited by my fierceness about getting “somewhere” or “something”.  Some of the goals were worthy, some were not, but the path to most of them could have been smoother and less pressured. 


I am listening to the new Al Green album, Lay It Down, just downloaded from iTunes.  It is classic Al Green, every song about being in love, or lack of love, or perfecting his love…you get the picture.  Some of them have that gospel sound that he’s so good at.  “You’ve Got the Love I Need” could just as easily be “Jesus is What I Need” without changing a bit of the arrangement.  The piano accompaniment on “Too Much” is all church.  No one croons like Al.  I still want to cry over “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart” and “Simply Beautiful”.  He sings what you’d love for your man to sing to you.  Rock and roll rarely fits in my bedroom.


While Al sings, I’ve been working on the Plush baby blanket.  It now has teeny stripes, wide stripes and medium stripes of blue, hot pink and purple.  I started this blanket last year and gave up after a few inches of the tiny stripes.  I laughed when I found it again and realized that I was knitting it on cumbersome 14 inch aluminum needles.  They weren’t sharp enough to handle the fuzzy yarn well, and they froze my hands and made them feel stiff and awkward.  A change to Knitpicks circulars made this a breeze, and I’ve knitted another 15 or 16 inches in very little time.  I’ll be finished with it tomorrow, ready to photograph and put in the store. 


The golden yellow and blue Shine Worsted blanket is about 15 inches.  It is moving fast.  I alternated between them, except for the time at the restaurant today when I carried my portable little girl dress in my purse.  I’m shameless about knitting in public places.  The dress started a whole conversation with the hostess staff and waitresses about dressing little girls. 


The restaurant time was for Daddy’s birthday celebration.  He told us he wanted to go to the Olive Garden, and my sister arranged it for him and my mom, two of their longtime friends, the third in-town sister, and my daughter.  While she picked up the old folks and bussed them to the restaurant, I was the advance party.  They don’t take reservations so we went at a a low-volume hour and I talked to the hostesses about what we needed.  They did a lovely job of preparing a table that was accessible, with plenty of room for the older folk to maneuver and a little bit isolated so that they could talk and hear one another.  They were all in a festive mood, and it was a joy to see them peruse their menu and give their fiddly instructions to the waitresses.  One of the guests was more interested in making sure she got big portions to take home than in eating her meal.  My dad, who had earlier (unbeknownst to me) turned down birthday cake, cut everyone little slices of the cake I ordered and hoarded the rest for himself.  He laughed with delight as we complained, keeping his heap of cake right in front of him.  “Happy Birthday” was sung once by us and again by the wait staff.  No one could believe it was his 90th.  He looked sharp in new cargo pants and a tweed jacket, and I was reminded of how he’s been the most handsome man in my life since I was a little girl. 


I wouldn’t have thought, 20 years ago, that I’d be here thanking God for keeping my parents in my life so long.  At 30 I was barely tolerating them.  I hadn’t yet experienced their supportiveness during the hardest times of my life, and their transformation by the birth of my daughter.  I didn’t have hopes of us being close.  We didn’t end our phone calls with “I love you”.  More often we were just polite, loving each other, but not very warmly.  It’s midnight.  Daddy is officially 90.  I am thankful.


I’ve had some random knee pains today.  They remind me of some of the pains I had two years before my diagnosis.  They would come precipitously, very sharp and intense, making me grab my knee and catch my breath.  One of my close friends, a physician, observed me during one of these incidents and insisted on examining my knees.  When his exam didn’t find anything, he scheduled me for an MRI.  It was also normal.  He was not at ease with that, but I laughed it off, not knowing that they were the lupus wolf calling ahead, warning me of his coming.   I’ve ignored the people closest to me, the ones who had my protection and best interests most at heart, on more than that occasion.  A good habit to lose. 


La da da da, la da da da, da da da da da da da da…standing out here in the rain…sing it, Al.



One Response

  1. I just happened across your blog this morning, and I really enjoyed reading this post about your father’s birthday party. It sounds absolutely lovely!

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