My wife doesn’t like tomatoes.
So, the celebration may not have been a peak experience for her.
But last month, the main course of our 43rd wedding anniversary dinner held special significance for me.
Because, from my side of the table, the Bologna, Lettuce and Tomato sandwich symbolized the spirit of renewal - a new kind of BLT being the kind of change one needs to keep the sale lunch meat in any relationship from going bad.
On what we now refer to as our BLT anniversary, she cared enough to check the “best used by” date on the package before offering me the extra half slice of bologna, bringing to life the spirit of sharing that can make all the difference in a partnership.
After the ceremonial meal, we also paused for a moment in front of the dish washer to reflect on that special day in 1976 - a day when we were married by a mayor later driven from office and a night on which I bowled my best game ever.
As dramatic as last month’s anniversary was, however, it proved to be mere prelude to last Tuesday, when I celebrated another landmark of early maturity my Medicare birthday.
The 65th birthday is the one on which our federal government gives a gift far more valuable than any gift the family can - a plan that will allow me to mark a golden date on my calendar for the filming of a slightly overdue video, Colonoscopy II: The Sequel.
My wife is arguing against a Facebook post, but my argument is that, with the campaign season ramping up, it might actually raise the level of discourse.
Before I forget, I’d like to send out a secondary shout-out to Google, which made it possible for me to search for a long ago commercial that marries my glorious entry into Medicare and the coming procedure.
At the end of a 2000 Superbowl ad for E*Trade, a surgeon is shown leaning over a man brought in by squad and put face-down on a gurney. The man in scrubs pauses for a moment and, in South Asian accent, tells the hospital staff it need not worry about taking down insurance information, because this patient has money “coming out the wazoo.”
In reality, there are many good things about turning 65.
At this age, I’m generally a more appreciative person than I once was.
I appreciate my employer for the supplementary insurance I’m receiving and the first pension check that will arrive Aug. 1 - and the 401K programs that were introduced in my mid-employment.
I appreciate Jehovah’s Witnesses. First, they’re polite. Second, they show up at your door rather than making repeated robocalls that project my mother’s area code on caller ID - a call of the very kind I received on my birthday.
Being semi-retired, I also am thankful that I have more time to be human.
Although I occasionally re-enter the rat race, I can slide out of it when I want to.
And that means my Sunday nights are free of internal bickering while I’m putting the trash and recycling at the curb when, in a more just world, someone else in the house should be doing it. And, in the summertime, I can bury the hatchet with a certain college student who used to come home in the summer, spend half the night away and had the temerity to leave a single ice cube in the tray instead of refilling it.
Maybe most of all, I now feel free to time to talk with people when I have a chance.
And I’m looking forward to my partnership with Medicare.
If I live long enough to develop cataracts, those can be removed.
When my prostate gland goes South, I can whistle Dixie.
The fact is, at my age, if a health problem arises, so long as it can be fixed or managed, my intention is to remain happy.
At a time in life when I see numbers far lower than 65 in the obituaries, I plan to do my best to enjoy the remainder of the borrowed time I have.
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