Thursday 19 May 2011

After 3 Obits, a birthday, because life is for the living!

The last three posts in this colyoom have been about loss, and much as it’s important to celebrate the lives of those who have gone, we’d be missing the point entirely if we forgot to enjoy life as we live it. A few days ago I made it to my 51st, and was very appreciative of how the wonderful people in my life insisted we celebrate.

The fiesta started a few days earlier in Madrid, when my great friend bought me a massage as a present. With distant New Age mood sounds of elephants trumpeting and jungly creatures hooting, a petite masseuse found each of the golf balls that had been illegally occupying my shoulders, kneading those knotted lumps of angry tension into healthy loose fibrous musc-yools filled with smooth flowing bloodules (technical terminology, you understand.)

Doubtless I should have immediately gone to rest and drunk bucketloads of water, but there was whisky to be downed and a city to explore. “Happy Birthday!” said my mate, and when I pointed out that it wasn’t actually for a few days yet, he sensitively and thoughtfully retorted “Bollocks! It’s already started!”

On the day itself, back in Galway, I picked up redoubtable Dalooney and headed off to visit the Guru in his new rural eyrie, high up on the hills of Tonabrocky. We lads, friends for many a year, sat and drank tea, talking shite about dreadful things we’d done ages ago and last week, whilst eating fresh strawberries, enjoying as fine a morning as anybody into the second half of their century might desire.

The Guru said he wanted to take me out to lunch, but I had already stuffed my face with a full Irish breakfast at Lohans pub first thing that morning (I’d decided that I was worth it!), so it was off back down we went, to sea level, to sup a pint of Bay Ale in the Oslo in Salthill.

By the time I got home, the Snapper had been mighty busy, running an Olympic record tour of local supermarkets and delis. On the kitchen table were a pile of big balloons, pressies and cards, which I tore open like a six year-old. Books and chocolate and messages from overseas, by snail mail, e-card, donkey train and turtle dove.

Lovely! Off to shower my ageing boddaay before Dalooney and the Body joined the Guru at our gaff, whereupon we started to drink much English beer (no, not warm beer, just not chilled beer. What is it with the way the world mocks our bitter? Does anyone complain that most red wine is served unchilled? Does anyone say ‘Ooh yuk, warm wine?’) and Irish whiskey, a bottle of which was produced by the Body himself (as a gift, I hasten to add, not through his bladder!)

We four blokes than sat around the table and were presented with a roast chicken feast, followed by berries, lemon tart and finally, a home-baked birthday cake, all the work of my lovely wife. Raising our glasses to toast her, the mad shouting and exuberant drunken revelry that exploded from our mouths somehow formed into a rousing, very customised version of the Marseillaise.

Well, it was similar to the French national anthem in every way except none of us actually formed words, throwing grunty laughing noises into a mix of pure exuberance, to thank herself for her sterling and loving efforts.

And then a few minutes later, spont-an-naneously like, just for the craic like, we raised our glasses and toasted her again, producing another nonsensical chorus of “Aaaaalonzzz lay zer doo baarr doo berrr be dooo dan na na shoooobeeer doo be daaerrrr!”, accompanied by hearty table thumping and a healthy dollop of pure silliness.

We watched no TV, played no games, just talked and ate and drank and I looked around the room and couldn’t have been happier. Admittedly there were rather more testicles than wombs around the room, but sure, ye’ll have that. There were family phone calls, balloons on the walls and a room filled with the beating of excellent human hearts, good souls with one combined intent - to celebrate life and get on with the living of it!


Ciaran said...

Nice piece, Charlie ... and happy birthday! Kudos to your photographer, you don't look a day over 41, so s/he's taken ten years off ya!

Are you going to write about the hangover, because that's the big difference between 21 and 51!!!

Charlie Adley said...

Thanks Ciaran!

There's many reasons why she's called the Snapper, and they're not all about volume. A deadly skilkful hand with the camera, wild flowers and drunken scribblers are her specialities.

Even sadder than the hangover was the moderation! This 51 year-old drunk on a couple of bottles of beer, a healthy dram of whiskey and mostly just bonhomie, so no real hangover ... apart from coming to terms with the fact that I'm 51!

Paz said...

belated happy birthday,
I have always likes your use of language to describe a scene and "there were rather more testicles than wombs around the room" made me laugh, brilliant

Charlie Adley said...

Thanks Paz! I'm never sure where my fingers will take me over the keyboard, but I trust them!

claire louise bennett said...

The Guru! Ha hahahaha! That's well funny!