March 11 is Ron’s birthday and one of my favorite days of the year. It requires a lot of thought, intuition and, sometimes, the luck of the Irish. We have been married since God was a baby and every year around the middle of February we have this conversation:
Me: “What would you like for your birthday?”
Him: “Chocolate cake with chocolate icing.”
Me: “No, for a present.”
Him: “Not a shirt.”
The shirts are a tradition. He knows he’s getting a shirt; he’s just being contrary. But he’s serious about the cake, which of course, he’ll get. (Thank you, Miss Cindy!) And I do try to come up with a surprise of some kind. Occasionally, I even pull one off.
For a while, we went to D.C. for his birthday weekend. Brunch at the Old Ebbitt Grill, a movie at the Uptown, lunch at our favorite Greek restaurant near DuPont Circle and a few museums to round out the mix and prove we aren’t only there for the food. Then came the magical year when I accidentally pulled off the best birthday celebration ever. A never to be repeated epic that I had nothing to do with, but took all the credit for.
This miracle of non-planning started when I stumbled over an incredible $99 a night room at the Capital Hilton. When we checked in, we learned we’d grabbed the last room and all the other guests were there to attend the Gridiron Club Dinner, an event featuring the President of the United States and the Marine Corps Band. I told Ron I’d arranged the party for his birthday.
Saturday evening, from our comfy club chairs in the lobby bar, we had birthday martinis and single malt Scotch and watched a parade of dignitaries (both in fact and in their own minds) sweep in through the front entrance of the hotel. Dressed in glittering formal attire, they first posed for photographers before being swept along for a second, less glamorous meeting with the Secret Service. This was a D.C. version of Oscar’s red carpet and was serious entertainment for political junkies like us.
Then we went to dinner and Ron wore his new shirt.
The next morning, we took the Metro to the Smithsonian Station to do the museum tour before heading home. The escalator from the station deposited us above ground to a trumpet fanfare and a drum roll. Clever girl that I am, I immediately said, “I arranged that just for you.”
Ron looked over my shoulder and said, “You are good. A parade just for me?”
Parade? St. Patrick’s Day! I’d already taken credit for everything else, including the good weather, so I quickly said, “But, of course! A party with the President, a parade and a new shirt.”
“Chocolate cake with chocolate icing.”
Traditions are wonderful.
Happy Birthday to my sweet Ronnie and Happy St. Patrick’s Day Week to you all.