My friend and mentor Dan is dying. And, if you ask me, he's dying way too young. Not that anyone asked me. So, why the "lucky man" moniker? Well, let me tell you, watching Dan over the years, I've learned a few things about how people "luck into" a good life. Here's what I've learned from watching Dan.
First of all, be humble and kind. It makes you the kind of person people can trust with their confidences and their hearts. I'm sure it's part of what attracted his wonderful wife Doris to him.
Secondly, be fun. Who doesn't want to hang out with someone who has a sense of humor and enjoys life? And Dan has enjoyed life ever since I've known him (which is a long time - Dan and Doris were my church youth group leaders way back in high school. When I got older my husband and I hung out with them and I can remember some hilarious times together, including a crazy dinner party where the guests ate right off of the table with no utensils but our hands and with those hands tied to each other. Cooperation was the key word if you wanted to eat!)
Thirdly, be a man of integrity. I've never heard Dan say an unkind word to or about anyone. He's always been a man you could depend on.
Lastly, spend your life well. This man has. He's been a loyal and loving husband and father. After retiring from teaching he became a pastor. I have no idea how many people he's visited in the hospital over the years or how many couples he's married but I'd be willing to bet it's a hefty number.
Over the years I've watched Dan's life run like a well-oiled machine. He tended that life the same way he and his wife did their little veggie garden, carefully and lovingly. Thanks to wise choices, many of life's bigger soap opera-style dramas passed him by. Someone casually glancing at him would say, "What a lucky guy." I say, "What a wise man." And what an inspiring example! Some of us squander our lives, some of us spend wisely. I want to be like Dan, the "lucky" man and spend mine wisely.
At least that's what it says on the cake I just picked up for my annual "surprise" birthday party for myself. That's my new motto and I like it! Even though the big day isn't until tomorrow the celebrating and the shenanigans have started already. As you can see by the book pictured below. This arrived in the mail yesterday courtesy of my old high school pal Donna. We have been passing this book back and forth on birthdays for years, and it always comes with a cheeky note written inside. (Yeah, yeah, I know I'm getting older but guess who's right behind me and will be getting this back in a few short months!) The notes in side the book (and the years) are collecting and it is becoming quite the treasure. Hate to say it Donna Jean, but in a couple more landmark birthdays you might not get it back cuz I think I'm going to be passing it on to my daughter to send back and forth to her girlfriend. Let the tradition continue!
I've already been collecting more than funny facial exercise books this month. My game girls had an early party for me and loaded me up with lots of cool presents. It was a shame I had the wrong date on the calendar and missed it! They kept taking pictures with their phones and sending them to me. Everyone had a wonderful time in my absence. Oh, well. My only consolation is that this slight boo-boo had nothing to do with me getting old and forgetful. It just had to do with me being an airhead. Wait a minute. I don't like that explanation of the mix-up any better. I'm just busy. There. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it! I did get the presents and cake the next day from my buddy Jill. She even sang happy birthday to me, fed me, and played a game of Hands and Buns with me. Now, that's true friendship! And I still have tomorrow to look forward to. Meanwhile, today I went to the make-up counter at Macy's and splurged on eye shadow and liner and lipstick. My goodness, do I look hot. So, I look hot, I feel hot. I sure don't feel old. You know, you're only as old as you act. A very wise woman said that. Who was it? Oh, yeah It was me! So all you girls with birthdays coming up, get out there and celebrate. Don't depend on others to pamper you. Do it for yourself. Celebrate the fact that you're alive. It's a gift.
It seems like everywhere I look right now I see tips for guys on how to "get it right" on Valentine's Day. (Believe me, I'm all for that but if Gerhardt blows it, I know where to find the chocolates for 50 % off on the 15th.) What's with all the helpful hints on how to make us women happy? Is this because guys are clueless? Maybe. Or does it say something about our culture these days? Where are the TV segments and radio ads telling us how to give Mr. Wonderful a great day? Are they missing because it's pretty obvious what will make him happy? Maybe. Still, it seems odd to me that while we have lots of advice for the men we don't talk much about how to be great wives and girlfriends. I just heard a radio ad for a seminar for men on how to love their wives. Where are the seminars for women on how to love their men? Are they in scarce supply because it's not all that hard to make a man happy? Maybe. Or maybe it's that these days we'd rather focus on us. Is that a good thing? Not that I'm objecting to all this attention, but . . . maybe not.
Our couples foodie group got together last weekend to celebrate Valentine's Day early, and after dinner we played the game I told you about in my Super You newsletter. When we got to the card that had us complete the sentence "The thing to remember about men is..." all three women in some form or other mentioned the male ego and a guy's need for respect. We all got it, but these last few days I've found myself wondering if we really "get it". I'm not so sure.
Aretha Franklin isn't the only one who wants R-E-S-P-E-C-T. This tops the must-have list for most guys but where the heck do they find it these days? Men in sitcoms and movies are often idiots and their women treat them more like children than adults. And this isn't just happening on the screen, baby. I see women getting after their husbands for all kinds of things on a regular basis. Some guys can't seem to do anything right. And, what can I say? I've been known to go into Mommy mode with my man, too. I've pooh-poohed suggestions or sneered at purchases he's made for his man cave. (HIS being the operative word here.) And I guess I shouldn't have dissed the shirt he found on sale yesterday, but seriously, that thing is ugly. No wonder it was on sale! If Beau Brummel was right and clothes make the man we are in serious trouble. Okay, as you can see, I have room for improvement. Anybody else guilty of this kind of behavior? Come on now, be honest.
I don't like to be put down, nagged, or treated like an idiot (even when I'm acting like one). So what makes me think my man welcomes it?
One of the most important things to a man is respect. If he can't get it from the woman who loves him where's he going to get it?
Sooo, what am I giving my man for the big day (besides the obvious)? His favorite meal . . . and a little respect.