The year of my friends turning 50

I was in NYC this past weekend for the 50th birthday party of my friend David. We went to high school together, and despite distance and time (and my poor skills at staying in touch), David and I have kept up with each other all these years. I would have expected more jokes about age, but instead it was a wonderful celebration of a good man, a good husband, a good father and a good journalist. It gave me a different perspective on turning 50 — something I honestly am not looking forward to. It showed me that it could be a time to look back with clear eyes at the many people a person touches — in David’s case, there were a couple of us from high school, friends from the city, some he’d gotten to know in Miami and at college, and, of course, family. So, although I love the many jokes I mention in this blog, it was nice not to take even good-natured jabs at age for once. (Though David, as I, wasn’t happy getting his AARP solicitation). When they passed a microphone around to say a few words, I suddenly got shy. Here’s what I didn’t say — David, you saved my life and my sanity in high school. In moments bad and good, then as now, you always have time for me and so many others in your life — it is the sign of a big heart. I am proud to call you friend, to call you brother.

Side note: As I drove to the airport on Saturday, I heard NPR piece on another high school classmate, Bobby Sanabria, a musician and teacher whose Afro-Cuban-influenced music is a fixture on my iPod. Great interview. You can read some about Bobby and listen to the interview here. Here is a link to Bobby’s Web site. He was at David’s party, and it was excellent catching up with him…Side note No. 2: I also visited with another friend turning 50, Paul, who like David and me, has a young child who helps put life in perspective at our age. I’ve know Paul since I was in my mid-20s, and it both seems like yesterday and a long time ago that we meet. So much life behind all of us and, I hope, so much in front.