"Come Read To Me Some Poem"
SUNNYSIDE UP MOMENT - APRIL 28, 2020
DAY FORTY-THREE OF THE CORONAVIRUS QUARANTINE FOR US AT STACK 'EM HIGH PANCAKES AND SO FORTH
Today is our dear friend Miriam’s 91st birthday. For the last fifteen years in a row, I have had the privilege of hosting her birthday celebration. Some years we entertained big dinner parties. Some years we toasted the occasion with elaborate happy hours. The years our children were infants and toddlers the undertaking was much more casual and intimate. Nonetheless, we have been together every April to honor her. She was one of the first women scientists at the FDA and worked toward public health and safety her entire career. She loves poetry, houseplants and good bourbon. Basically, she is my spirit animal.
As is the case with so many time-honored traditions and milestone ceremonies like proms and graduations having to be cancelled this year, we were crestfallen by the idea that we would be forced to skip our annual celebration. But with the lemons of this situation we have decided to make lemonade for the kids and mint juleps for the adults! Moussaka and spanakopita are in the oven. I made her favorite, La Bete Noire, flourless chocolate cake. We will deliver dinner and hopefully visit with us outside and Dick and Miriam on their screened in porch well beyond six feet away from us.
The secrets to Miriam’s longevity seem rather obvious. Outside of whatever biological factors there may be, and given her background she could happily discuss them with you, Miriam has nurtured a love of learning her whole life long. She never sweats the little things and relishes quiet contemplation. She reads and thinks and dreams constantly. She memorizes poetry and to this day can flawlessly recite verse after verse. Tonight there will be no clink of glasses. There will be no hugs at the end of the evening. But I bet there will be poetry. She will look at each one of us sincerely and let the words of the poet she adores inspire and comfort us. That’s what really good friends do for each other. They share their love and in turn you are grounded and rooted in something eternal.
Nearly two centuries hence, Longfellow's words remain. "The Day is Done" describes how poetry is like music and when spoken aloud shepherds our souls down a path to peace. Today we celebrate Miriam, and all of our journeys toward serenity. May your "night be filled with music, And the cares that infest the day, Shall fold their tents, like the Arabs, And silently steal away."