• 75°

Birthdays and the road of life

Friday was my husband’s birthday. We spent it in the car. Not all of it, just four hours.
He was driving. I was writing. It worked pretty well. We had an unspoken agreement. He didn’t tell me how to write. And I tried not to tell him how to drive.
We left our home in Las Vegas around mid-afternoon, to drive to Phoenix for the weekend, to celebrate his birthday and see the Warriors play the Suns.
My husband is a lucky man. He knows it, but I like to remind him. Not only has he lived to see another birthday — not everyone gets to do that, you know — but he married a woman who likes basketball and doesn’t balk at driving 300 miles to see a game.
The day got off to a great start with birthday cards and phone calls and a video from our 3-year-old grandson singing “Happy bir’day, Papa Mark!” backed up by his baby brother, chiming in on “to you!”

In the car, his cell phone kept ringing with birthday greetings from family and friends. He put them all on speaker phone so he could drive hands free and I could listen in, even though it wasn’t my birthday.
We by-passed Hoover Dam, drove on through Kingman and headed out across the open desert just in time for sunset.
The western sky colored up slowly, painting feather-like clouds in the singular shades of neon pinks and purples and lavenders and grays that I’ve come to love in desert sunsets.
I wish you could’ve seen it.
Just past Wikieup — a town that’s even smaller than the one I grew up in — my husband pulled over to take a picture. He’s like that. A sucker for sunsets. I like that about him.
I wanted to take a picture of him taking the picture, but I couldn’t get my phone/camera out of my purse before he got back in the car. I’m like that. Slow. He likes that about me.
Back on the road, the sunset gradually faded to black, the shadows grew long and the desert disappeared, bedding down under a blanket of night.
Oncoming headlights sliced the dark like lasers and stabbed at our eyes. The rough road got rougher, rattling our teeth. My bad knee kept begging for a break, and dinner was still miles away. I dug into the snack bag one last time and fished out a limp stick of celery. It had seemed like such a good idea when I packed it.
Meanwhile, on the CD player, the Reverend Al Green began to sing, “Love and Happiness,” and we had to laugh. A little good music makes a bad road better.

An hour later, we checked into the hotel (they left a light on for us), got dinner and sat out on a roof top feeling glad to be alive.
We had a great weekend. Ate too much, slept too little and the Warriors, well, they lost. But still, it was all worth the drive.
Isn’t it always?
On the way home, I started thinking about birthdays. In our family, we celebrate four in January, four in February, and all the others throughout the year. Mine is next week. I’m not sure how we’ll celebrate it. Possibly not with a four-hour drive to a basketball game.
If I’m lucky, like my husband, I’ll get cards and calls and maybe a few videos. I don’t need presents any more. When you’ve seen as many birthdays as I’ve seen, the only gift you truly want is getting to see one more.
Birthdays are the mile markers on the road of life. They tell us how far we’ve come, but not how far we’ve yet to go.
Life is a journey more than a destination. The road is harder for some than it is for others, but we all reach the end of it sooner or later. What matters is who we choose as traveling companions, and how often we just sit back and enjoy the ride.
Here’s wishing you a happy birthday, whenever it may be. No need to send me a birthday card. Unless you really want to.
Contact Sharon Randall at www.sharonrandall.com.

Comments

Comments closed.

Crime

Salisbury man faces drug possession charges after overdose call

Crime

Police: Man charged after children call 911 from neighbor’s house

Ask Us

Ask Us: Who are people behind sign at City Park playground?

Coronavirus

Prison in Salisbury latest site of COVID-19 outbreak

Crime

Blotter: Salisbury Man charged with felony assault by strangulation

Nation/World

Trump vows quick Supreme Court vote, Biden urges delay for Nov. 3

Nation/World

New rule may strip pollution protections from popular lakes

East Spencer

East Spencer draws crowd for annual community day

Elections

In Rowan’s legislative races, Howard, Warren get off to strongest start in fundraising

Business

From Navy SEAL to Medicare agent, Trent Waller looks to continue serving his community

Elections

In 13th Congressional District race, Budd, Huffman differ on government’s role in COVID-19 help

Local

Rowan County Telecommunications joins new state digital 911 system

Education

School board will consider scheduling public hearings for Faith, Enochville closures

Business

Biz Roundup: Food Lion makes donation to support racial equality and justice

Elections

Republicans rally supporters at Saturday lunch

Elections

Budd holds wide lead over Huffman in fundraising, cash on hand

Crime

UPDATED: 1 shot, 5 in custody after shooting at haunted house that attracted 1,000 visitors

Nation/World

Trump picks conservative Amy Coney Barrett to fill Supreme Court seat

Coronavirus

Deadly September propels Rowan County to 100 deaths from COVID-19

Crime

Highway Patrol charges man in hit-and-run after finding vehicle hidden in woods

Elections

NC elections board, Republicans at odds over absentee ballot rule changes

News

Voters struggling with witness rules in early voting

News

Trump expected to announce conservative Amy Coney Barrett for Supreme Court

Coronavirus

County reports COVID-19 percent positive rate of 8%