Best Birthday Ever!

He writes in this font, she writes in this font.

Twenty-nine is not the traditional landmark of birthdays. A year before the “dirty thirty” and nearly a decade between the two main flagships of aging: 21 and 40. Searching my memory I cannot recall a single story from friends or family that started with “29 was the best birthday ever.” More often it seems people sweep this not worth mentioning day under the rug of time, just another banal day.

Well, 29 was my best, most favorite, superb birthday — ever.

Let’s talk pre-birthday. I was a little anxious. I’m not quite sure why: he was already grateful after I eagerly greeted him home from walking the dog early that morning. You would have thought I gifted him a million dollars. I truly did not know what to expect from the day, including the Airbnb.

We spent the morning devouring a fruit tart covered in 29 wax dripping candles, and later enjoyed  even more beautiful fresh treats under canopies at the bustling PSU Farmer’s Market. I then nervously took photos of him like a mom at Christmas, while he opened his gifts from me. The day was beautiful. We were also pleasantly surprised by the Airbnb, he’ll share more about it. I spent weeks searching for the perfect place that would give us comfort, peace, and relaxation.

Bags packed, car full of food and some wine, we hit the road and headed north. From the onset I was clueless as to our destination. Up and out of the way in Washington, near White Salmon, but past it, we drove onward. We went through beautiful hills, my eyes growing wide in wonder at the orchards and rolling hills. I would have been happy to stop and camp along the road with all that beauty. Megan had even more grand ideas.

The car finally slowed to a crawl, the right signal-light blinking, in front of the Steelhead Ranch. Gliding slowly through the long driveway to our home for the night, I saw dozens of strange-looking creatures dodging their heads up and down through a fence. It was if they wanted to see us without us seeing them. Hide and seek with an animal that looked like a

poodle and camel somehow came together to create something entirely nonsensical.

“Are those fucking alpacas?”

Megan just laughed at first, for a good fifteen seconds. Then she replied, Yes.” More laughs.

So we spent the celebration of my twenty-ninth year on a ranch. Alpaca petting, fat farm-cat rubbing, adventuring through woods with a healthy Burnese mountain dog following close behind. It wasn’t clear if he followed to protect us or save himself from boredom. Either way we never got his name.

All evening we read and planned our honeymoon. Talking. Really talking the way two people talk when there is nothing else to do except enjoy each other’s company and draw out ideas like spreading sand across a table. Smooth and complete. I think that was the best part of the whole experience. Talking to Megan, undisturbed, is a present beyond the measure of value.

That was how we spent my birthday and it was wonderful.  I suppose I should add that we watched “Spice World” to cap the night. I have no doubt Megan would have mentioned it if I did not.