40’s the new 20-ish

new-coke-1985I just spent a weekend with a bunch of nieces and nephews, who, in my mind are still 3,5,7 and 9. And the 9 year old just got married! The most emotional part, of course, was the slide show. I always cry. In fact, I don’t even have to know you to cry about your rehearsal dinner slide show. It’s not because the baby is getting married now. It’s that his Mama has to think about that, about how he used to be so little with those toasty little feet and cute big smile and now he’s married and headed for Cabo. It’s heartwrenching, mostly because I know one day, when my own 9 and 11 year olds are big enough to make their own grilled cheese and put their own glass under the ice dispenser in the fridge door, and put their laundry away, and feed the dog… then I’ll be thinking the same thing. Which leads me to the second and nearly as profound realization; 40 has got to be the new 20. I mean, first of all, when I was twenty, my MOM was 43, and she was old as dirt. I know I can’t be that old, besides I recently heard that wealthy 50 is the same as 30. which, if you do a little philosophical math,  I’m only 26. And with money I’d be underage! Whatever. Who wants to be twenty again anyway? The ideal thing would be if they could microchip your brain and all the words to Eagles songs, and running a business, what’s really important in life and all those books you’ve read and just zap your face to make it “20 perfect” again. Now that would be cool.”That’s called plastic surgery, Mom”, my 11 year old yells. But it’s really not. It’s inside self- preservation, with a little outside fancy. No knives involved. That would be ideal. All this was wedding/reception/white/white/red/red/red talking. And last night, I COULD NOT BELIEVE that we can’t already do that. I mean they CAN walk on the moon and all, they can ticket you via camera at a traffic light AND they can make vegetables more attractive, they can even clone stuff, and they can’t come up with something besides exercise to get FAT off us?

 But then, later, from our room at the  Gainesville, Ga. hotel, which somehow always smelled like mashed potatoes in the lobby, I decided to check-out my Facebook page,( This should probably be illegal, or there should at least be an, “are you SURE you want to send this?” box that pops up, right after you write on someone’s wall). But there, right in the middle of my old as dirt person Facebook page, sometime after midnight, sat three very good friends, strumming guitars, in a driveway, somewhere slightly south of Birmingham, a slideshow uploaded via mobile.  And I thought,” no need for the magic, micro-chip, anti-aging thing. You just need a few good friends, a few yards of concrete and a guitar, maybe red/red/red, and before you know it, it’s 1985 again. No knives involved.

Before Halloween was a Harvest Party

In 1974, Halloween was cold and blatant. I remember standing in front of my mom’s mirror, while she and her friend blacked my teeth, teased my big red hair,even bigger than normal, and made my skin Coty Powder white. I put on my black dress and black cape trimmed in drapery fringe and a big pointy black hat, all made by my Granny, from scratch.

My sister, a sullen three year old, was intermittently dressed in a store bought Cinderella costume, the kind that came in the see-through box, with the bright yellow hair and crown, all part of the plastic mask. It’s elastic slipped right over her real blonde “waterspout” hairdo and it was an easy escape from Cinderella back into her normal three year old self. No amount of persuasion convinced her to keep that mask on. Not when her plastic orange pumpkin was filling up with all kinds of chocolates and stuff she normally wouldn’t get to have all at one time, much less eat. And on we sailed, in Mom’s red Pontiac, my sister alternately pitching a fit and digging into her candy. The “fit” would usually follow a period of calm, where my Mom convinced her to wear the mask. But as soon as Missie realized that the reese’s cup wouldn’t fit through the Cinderella mouth, it came off, FAST.  Mom would pull over and wait, while we joined Bozo, Goldilocks, ghosts and princesses under each porchlight, to yell “trick or treat”, then a quick “thank you”, before racing to the house next door. By the time we made it through the neighborhood, we were loaded down with caramel creams, peanut butter candy in orange and black wrappers, pixy stix, giant smarties and snickers.  Missie was back down to her diaper, elbow deep into the pumkin. I think she was even barefoot. While somewhere down the street, a hollow-eyed Cinderella cartwheeled across the asphalt.