Happiest of Birthdays

If you follow this page, you know that I was in Palm Springs yesterday, delivering a keynote to a room full of big-shots. At some point in my remarks, I made mention of my mother, and the crowd erupted in applause. At first, I wasn’t sure why they were clapping. My mother wasn’t there, after all. I just mentioned her name in the context of some larger point, and the crowd started clapping.

“How’s she doing?” someone yelled.
“When is her next book coming out?” someone else wondered.
“Tell her Steve from Idaho said ‘Happy Birthday,’” said someone named Steve from Idaho, presumably.
In seconds, my train of thought had been completely derailed by people who were far more interested in my mother than whatever it was I was yammering on about.
“My mother is fine,” I yelled back.
“Her next book will be ready when she’s done writing it.”
“I’ll give her your regards, Steve.”
“Me too!” yelled someone else. “Tell her Happy Birthday from Carol and Ben! From Michigan!”
“Okay,” I replied. “Carol and Ben from Michigan. Got it.”
I spend a fair amount of time these days answering questions about my mother, sometimes on an airplane, sometimes in the back of a Lyft, sometimes in the middle of a speech. Not long ago at Sky Harbor, I was urinating next to a man who asked me about my mother mid-stream.
“Hell of a lady, your mother.”
“Yes,” I said. “She sure is.”
It’s hard to pee and talk about your mother at the same time.

Anyway, Peggy Rowe is 86 years old today, and hanging tough. She’s been busy these last few weeks looking after my dad, who continues to recover nicely from his Christmas surprise. If you’d like to join me in wishing her the happiest of birthdays, or, if you’d like me to pass along a message, please spell it out in the comments below.
As for you, mother, I’m sorry I’m not in Baltimore today, to celebrate another trip around the sun. But like you, I’m terribly busy doing a variety of important things. I sure do love you, though, and wish you many happy returns. As usual, there will be no sappy card for you to make fun of and then throw away.

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