“You never know,” said Bernie, stretching for a cuddle. “Perhaps he took P.R. advice and did them in quintuplicate. But I’d be careful whom you ask. You don’t want our rabbi accusing you of frivolous, womanish mockery. Next - perish the thought - you’ll be asking for the great man’s website address. Nu? What’s brought this on?”
“It’s because we’ll be jointly and severally aged 130 during the next few months, making us ten years older than him and I’m beginning to take my ‘sagacity-in-infirmity’ image most seriously”.
“So you think that a big, fat zero on your curriculum vitae date-of-birth line will make you look smarter than you are?”
“No. It’s not that. It’s more about needing respect. You must remember from when you were a kid how everyone a few years past their twenties appeared superior, infinitely knowledgeable and that you hung on their every word – even when you hated them. They all seemed terrifyingly important. But none of the stardust has been sprinkled on me.
“Now children only admire their peers. Your elders are no longer your ‘betters’, just sad, uncool ‘wrinklies'; people available to taunt. So here I am – gnarled of finger, creped of skin, dim of eye - and deaf as a post. I look like an old hag”.
“Not to mention ‘daft of demeanour’! You’re talking doggerelised drivel. I love you as you are, silly girl. Remember what your grandma always said: ‘I’m as old as I feel - and a bit older than my teeth. It’s not my fault I can no longer find them in the dark!’”
“Grandma Dee-Dee had a great sense of humour – and took it with her to the grave”.
“No she didn’t! She passed it on to you. It’s a wonderful legacy – and don’t forget it.
“By the way: do you realise it’s past midnight and you’re now officially a year older?”
“Yeah. You’re right. I’ve never known 60 years pass so quickly! The big fun starts now. So give me a kiss, you ageing reprobate - and we’ll both be in for a great ‘hag sameach’!”
‘’Hag (sometimes transliterated as Chag) Sameach’ is the Hebrew greeting for ‘happy festival’. When Israelis wish a person ‘happy birthday’, they say ‘yom holedet sameach’.
(Copyright, Natalie Irene Wood – 23 January 2014)