By Paige Cline

Ninety years old.
Let that soak in.
That’s what I’m doing.

Do you realize how many people you become acquainted with in nearly a century of work or  visiting or whatever? Some are casual and some become a part of your very being.

My thoughts invariably turned to friends and loved ones that had passed on before. No wonder a person can feel alone when you think of the many voids that are left when one passes. So the joy and utter amazement that comes when you reflect on your life is tempered by the sadness of no longer being able to chat or gossip or seek advice from a trusted friend.

But life goes on. I am blessed with friends that think of me as another grandpa. And that’s ok.

It was nearly dark on my birthday and raining. As I passed the post office I almost didn’t go in because of the rain.  But it let up and I went in. My box was crammed full and running over with birthday cards. Someone had leaked my mailing address on Facebook.

When I got home. I read every card, one by one. Some had messages written by old friends that reminded me of what they had meant to me in the past….and just as much now.

One card was from Tom Evans who reminded me of my long friendship with his wife Audra who passed away not long ago.

Another was from the Scott family who lost a son to cancer when he was only fifteen years of age. What an inspiration Aaron was, and is, to everyone who who knew him.
Then there was our beloved Tadpole. I first met her when she was a tony freshman at Oceana. High who couldn’t dribble from one end of the gym to the other.  What little Tabatha Sprouse had going for her was determination and a heart as big as all outdoors. She wound up playing college basketball on scholarship.

Then there are the ones nearby who work their magic on my birthday. Herbie, along with Deb and Rodney make my day extra special.

Still the memory of those who are gone, make it a bittersweet day. Time nor death cannot erase the memory of wonderful friends and family.

As many of you wished for me. Happy Birthday in advance. I might be ninety, but I’m still…..growin’ up.

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