Every year, on my birthday, Grant Goodman, who was an early riser, would call me at 6 in the morning and sing “Happy Birthday” most endearingly because it was also mostly off-key. Later in the day, we would get together for a special celebratory lunch or dinner, just the two of us, after which he would give me my present. Every year, on my birthday, he would hand me a cute card containing the usual birthday greetings, plus a check the amount of which would correspond with the number of years I’ve lived, starting with $25 in 1969. This went on without much surprise, year after year
And so, on 5 January 2014, when he handed me the usual card with, presumably, a check for $70, I put the card aside, because that year I decided we would not eat out, that I would cook some of my favorite dishes from the Philippines, which required my full attention in the kitchen. That night, after dinner, after Grant had long departed and all the dishes had been washed, I sat down for one last glass of wine and opened his card. I took no notice of the check until I started to put it away, when I saw that he had written it, not for $70, but for $2,565. There must be some mistake, I thought, so I called him even though it was past his bedtime.
He was still awake. He had been waiting for my call. “No mistake,” he laughed boisterously. “That check should take care of all your birthdays until you turn 100.”
I turned 72 today, my second birthday without Grant because he died in April of 2014, six months shy of his own 90th birthday. When my first dog (Imelda) died at 10 1/2 years old, and my second dog (MyKee) at 14 1/2 years old, it was only because Dr. Tom Liebl at Clinton Parkway Animal Hospital said “the quality of life has degenerated” and “it’s time.” Did Grant subconsciously know he would not live to celebrate another birthday with me? Did he suspect his time was up?
I don’t know that I want to live to 100, especially if my health should start to deteriorate and I’m no longer enjoying myself. My only regret is, if my third dog (KeeWee) should outlive me. But I’ve already made provisions for her in my will. Checks and balances, that’s what keeps me going, for now. I hope I too will know when “it’s time.”