Count down begins
Quote of the day
I have found the best way to give advice to your children is to find out what they want and then advise them to do it. Harry Truman (From CCIE)
Turning sixty is just 45 days away, and it is looming large for me right now. I cannot believe that I am privileged enough to be about to achieve such a grand old age. It seems substantial and, oh so mature! It feels grander than when I turned 50. Indeed, I was just a mere piddly squeak back then compared to how I have grown (groan?), and all I have managed to accomplish personally and professionally these past ten years.
And so, I have decided to count down until the big day – the very moment my body, mind, and soul enters my sixtieth birthday – on May 24 this year. On that day I will be in Paris, accompanied by life partner, my son, and mother-in-law. One of my best friends is planning to take a train from Italy to join in the festivities, which will most certainly include the imbibing of a gateau – Mille-feuille, to be exact. We have been planning this for some time since Paris is one of my favorite cities in the world, and I was first introduced to the Mille-feuille by my step-mother when I was a small child growing up in Africa. She would dress me up like a pretty little doll and take me out to one of Bulawayo's department stores, Haddon & Sly.
I would sit quietly watching my step-mother closely as she dressed herself with great care, slipping hairpins into the neat roll she created around the bottom edge of her blue-silver tinted hair. After donning her beige colored gloves, we would drive off together into the town for our outing. I cannot remember what we did at Haddon & Sly except for the times we would visit the store's tea-room for tea and cakes – and, usually Mille-feuille was among them. I would sit at the table politely making sure to be on my very best behavior.
I remember feeling almost as if I was being initiated into some type of aristocratic, sophisticated world meant for other people – everyone else, that is, except me. It was like some kind of lucky fluke that I was even allowed to participate in it for a brief moment. I understood that I would have to keep very quiet, not fidget or make any unnecessary movement in my seat, and eat my cake ever so carefully until each crumb was cleaned off the plate and into my hungry little mouth. I probably could have eaten sixteen of them one after another. They were so delicate and petite, and so completely delicious – expert flaky pastry, creamy custard filling and elegant powdered sugar frosting the top. I was always so proud not to allow one tiniest drop of the powdered sugar to fall onto the table cloth, or more importantly, onto my clothes. My step-mother would have hated that, and I feared her wrath considerably.
I do not have very many vivid memories of my childhood. In fact, when I do try to think back it all seems colored in gray – quite dark actually. And I remember being afraid most of the time – afraid of anything and everything. Indeed, I have spent my life working hard to allow light and sunshine in to bathe and warm my soul.
As my count down to sixty begins, I imagine sitting in a cafe in Paris, accompanied by people I love, all partaking in an early childhood memory with me, as we munch on as many mille-feuilles we care to eat!
A year ago at Mining Nuggets: Life and friendship (Update)