The poster you see is a birthday gift I received Sunday in celebration of my 60th birthday. The surprise gift from my good friend Beau White, with help from my wife, Laura, and daughters, Julie and Kelly, capped off a day I never imagined I would enjoy so much.
My goodness, the poster is perfect. All the details are there. A line from my favorite movie – the bike renamed a Calfee – Lil Red – Jack Johnson – my skateboard – the symbol of the Missouri Synod Lutheran church – the adidas logo on the shoes – and much more. Perfect. Beau is a genius.
Any decade birthday is important. Sunday’s especially so. My father died suddenly in August of 1979 at 59. The hope of turning 60 took on a special meaning from that day. Since neither of my grandfathers reached 60 for various reasons, that number seemed to me as epic as Babe Ruth’s 60 home runs in 1927. Sunday was one monstrous home run of a day.
Naturally, every minute was magically filled. Things got off to a big surprise when Laura woke me at midnight to wish me “Happy Birthday.” We arose early for Paris-Roubaix. Church together followed as my emotions had me smiling and crying at the same time. After a big brunch, Laura and I shot the spirited KU – Nebraska baseball game. Fish tacos at Anglers in Lawrence with the family were as good as ever. After a few relaxing skateboard runs, we headed to the Yacht Club to share a wonderful party with many friends near and dear to me. Finally, as the last minutes of the day faded away, there was just Laura with me again as I pray it will be for many more birthday’s to come.
The crowd Sunday mixed many walks of life with ease. Dear friends that care for me physically, spiritually, professionally; photographers that challenge me; young people who infuse me with energy; friends that check and balance me; and even the KU baseball skipper offering up a toast was as good as it possibly could get on a birthday we both share.
Of course, my daughter Julie shares the same birthday. Sunday was her 28th birthday. She graciously subjugated her day to me, but her big day will come with her June marriage. Julie, Kelly and Laura made all this magic happen. Bless them as I have truly been blessed.
My good health and fitness, my great job and career, my friends and my family are God’s gifts to me here on earth. Yet, each day here cannot match the gift of salvation God granted through the sacrifice of his Son for all my sins.
Free from the burden of those sins I have led a 60 year life of joy and happiness. God willing, I will be able to turn that 6 in 60 upside down and make it to 90. My thanks and the Lord’s grace and mercy to all for helping make my life Jeff’s Big Adventure.