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For it’s Hi! Hi! Hey! on a 90th birthday and the neighbors keep rolling along

On the day before his 90th birthday party, our neighbor Doug popped into our garage.

“Can I borrow your leaf blower?” he asked Vinnie, who had been assigned to clean his father’s work bench.

“Sure,” said Vinnie. “But if you want someone to blow out your yard, I’ll do it.”

“I finished my yard,” the spry nonagenarian said. “I just need it to do yours.”

Such is life when you live next door to a retired member of General Patton’s army, equal parts admiration and humiliation. Often I’ve been drawn to our bay window by an unfamiliar noise and found Doug raking, shoveling, cutting, trimming or aerating our yard. I’ve written about Doug before.

To combat his stubbornly helpful nature, we threw him a surprise party.

True to form, he served his own birthday cake, but in between he flirted, schmoozed, chatted, and generally held court among a group of our neighbors and friends.

If you ever have an opportunity to throw a 90th birthday party for a WWII veteran on the eve of Memorial Day weekend, consider yourself lucky.

You will find yourself saluting with your grilled burgers and fruit salad, the personification of American pride. Here’s to Doug and his fellow members of the greatest generation — here’s to easy manners, pressed slacks, straight backs, trimmed hedges, weeded gardens, ready humor, abiding ethics, and family love.

Happy birthday Doug and, for everything, thanks. As John F. Kennedy once said, geography has made us neighbors, history has made us friends.

Hearty party guests

It was a little nippy for the big shin dig but the folks gathered outside anyway.

Molly and Connie

Here’s Molly and one of our other amazing neighbors, Connie, the Cookie Lady. One never mentions a lady’s age, but we’ll be celebrating Connie’s 90th in three years. She’s amazing as well.

Owen and Doug

The oldest person at the party pauses for a moment with the youngest. Owen is brand new to the neighborhood and we’re happy to welcome him. In another 89 1/2 years or so, we’ll be celebrating Owen 90th birthday as well.

Light up glasses

At one point Doug showed up with these super cool light up glasses. That’s Janet, Doug’s gorgeous wife, cracking up in the background. They make a stylish pair.

More schmoozing

Such a flirt, when he wasn’t schmoozing, he was hugging.

schmoozing

Schmoozing

Teddy

I just really like the look on our neighbor Teddy’s face in this picture. He and his twin sister Hannah have given a shot of life to our aging neighborhood.

Here's the birthday boy arriving at his surprise 90th birthday party.

Here’s the birthday boy arriving at his surprise 90th birthday party.

The birthday boy serves cake

Here’s Doug at work, serving his own birthday cake.

The birthday boy tidies up

…and, of course, when the party ended, Doug insisted on helping clean up. You can lead a World War II vet to a party but you can not make him irresponsible.

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Posted on May 24, 2013, in The people in our neighborhood, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. Kathy Finley

    Very nice! We share our backyard with neighbors who remind me of Doug and Janet. Which reminds me I should get Keith to start pruning the trees before 80-something Jim starts scaling s ladder.

  2. I’m leavin’ the Prairie and movin’ to Roosevelt Drive. What a great neighbor YOU are to host a party like that!

  3. Vicki Dernlan

    Love this,

  4. Lovingly told as always.

  5. It’s a beautiful world. Thanks for sharing your part!
    Lovely people you and your family and Doug. I like Doug’s attitude; Its my party………. schmooze if I want to, Hug if I want to, Help clean if I want to……. 🙂 Congratulations Doug on your birthday!

  6. Molly – I just now am reading the post you did for my dad’s birthday. WOW, I still have tears in my eyes while I write this to thank you for such a lovely story on my dad’s 90th birthday celebration that your mom and dad were so clever to pull off! I also clicked on the link to “A toast to the Heroes Next Door. You write with such compassion, things we all know but somehow don’t express like you can. We all know what a great man my dad is but reading both stories just reminds me even more how special he is. THANK YOU!
    Jane (Mahr) Dennis

  1. Pingback: Busking for a cause in the greatest little city on the planet | Molly B and Me

  2. Pingback: There goes the neighborhood heroes | Molly B and Me

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