Friday night there was a little surprise 40th birthday party for me at my house. I was out for the early evening hearing Michelle Obama speak at UNC Asheville. She was absolutely amazing, and I was pleased that my friends were able to get her to speak in honor of my birthday. 😉
It would be (dare I say ‘will be?’) a wonderful thing to see her living in the White House. This is one smart, solid, down-to-earth woman. Barack’s pretty cool, too, and also kindly stopped by to wish me a happy birthday. My friend Elizabeth gave me great birthday hugs, too.
Gladys Knight introduced her, spoke a bit and sang God Bless America with more conviction and substance than I’ve ever heard it sung. I’m not easily manipulated by plastic patriotism, and I think a lot of public patriotism is of that variety. This was the real thing, though, and I had tears rolling down my cheeks, stirred to deeper thoughts and feelings growing out of the things I love about my country — what it is, what it hopes to be, and what it could be.
I didn’t know that Gladys lived locally, but apparently her husband grew up in Asheville and they moved back here within the last few years.
It was great fun to spend the evening celebrating with friends, and good to be far enough into spring that we could spend most of the evening on the back deck, with the chimenea fired up, but not needing to be close to it for warmth. Big thanks for MJ for organizing the party.
Forty feels good. Time’s going to keep flowing, regardless of whether I’m fighting the current or swimming with it, so the main question for me isn’t how many days I’ve spent, but how well I’ve spent them. I’ve spent plenty of them poorly, to be sure, but on the whole I really like my life and I treasure the days I have. Much to celebrate.
Last night I did a great sold-out house concert here in Columbia, Maryland, and tonight I head to Shepherdstown, West Virginia to play in an old Meeting House that predates the revolutionary war. That kind of context sure makes the Underground Railroad song I sing ring out a little louder.