In Living Color

Poppop wanted a 70th birthday party, so we granted his wish on 19 July 1979. We weren’t even sure if it was his 70th, because we were never quite clear on the year he entered this world. 1908? 1909? 1910? Who knew? No one, apparently. But since he wanted festivity in 1979, that’s what he got. How do you say “no” to a man who always said “yes”?
You don’t.
What you do is you put up balloons. You get cake. You have tons of food. You act ridiculous, with paper hats. You laugh like a hyena. You rejoice in glorious color. You say, “Ehh, what difference does a year make? He’s 71, he’s 70, he’s 69 … so what? He’s here and that’s all that matters.” Why waste time worrying about time?
Poppop, a week ago I lit a Yahrzeit candle in your sweet memory and cried so many tears they would have filled a huge bowl, the kind in which you used to serve me your insanely delicious matzoh ball soup. Today there is no candle, but your light shines so brightly still, and I swear I can hear you laughing.
When you left this world in 1993, Mommy decided your “official” year of birth was 1910. I love thinking that if that were the case, and you did know all along, then you were just eager to get the party started a year early. Don’t you realize, though, that every day with you was one?
Happy 102nd or 103rd or 104th birthday, my dear sweet man! ♥

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