My first ninetieth birthday party

We only had 260 miles or so to drive today, so I didn’t think we’d need to wake up particularly early. And we didn’t. But I had forgotten that Arizona was on Mountain Time, so that meant we were an hour behind schedule even before we left the hotel.

The first part of the trip went very smoothly — the speed limit was 75mph, and traffic generally hovered around that figure. So when I saw the sign offering a bypass of Phoenix, I didn’t even consider it. I should have; soon after passing the sign, we were in bumper-to-bumper traffic going about 15 mph, with another 40 miles of Phoenix to go.

So we did the intelligent thing: we got off the road and had lunch at the Bamboo Inn in Goodyear. I wouldn’t make a special trip to Goodyear to eat there, but it was better than our original plan: Arby’s. And by the time we finished and were back on the road, the traffic was moving again, and we got to the hotel about 4.

Diane’s family was in the lobby, so we started catching up immediately; then we went to our room. Suite, actually, with lots of living space and a teeny-tiny bathroom. It could use a bit more sound insulation from the street, but it’s otherwise quite nice — nice enough that I decided to see whether the hotel would be more reasonable in extending our stay than the reservations agent had been. They were willing to give us two more nights at the same $79 rate, so, barring surprises, we’ll be here till we leave town.

I was wrong, though; the party wasn’t here. It was where Diane’s aunt lives, in the multipurpose room of B’nai B’rith Covenant House, a five-minute drive away. About fifty of her friends and family gathered and celebrated — and there’ll be more tomorrow.

We had wanted to bring a ninetieth birthday card, but we didn’t find any we liked. They all talked about “as you look back”, and Diane’s aunt is not ready to stop and look back! So we got her a 40th and a 50th instead. And, as it turns out, we were not alone — her son bought her three 30th cards for the same reason. I think Hallmark is missing a bet here.