How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you were?
~ Satchel Paige
Even though she was born in America during The Great Depression, my stepmom Cullene seems almost ageless. She’s been that way to me for years and so much so that once she moved into her sixties, I never could remember exactly how old she was. After asking her more times than I should, I finally just started doing the math myself and even now I still have trouble reconciling her actual age with her active life.
As you may have guessed, today is her birthday.
She doesn’t want a fuss and has countered each suggestion for something more noteworthy with the dexterity of an athlete and firmness of someone who will not be swayed from what she wants. We finally settled on a small family celebration with just a few of us gathered round to eat, sing, and celebrate what is certainly a special day for us even if she would rather not make a big deal of it.
My sister Jennie and I have not been very closed-mouthed about which birthday this is (think big one) and Cullene would likely be horrified to know how many strangers now know about her birthday. I think we are just so impressed with the way she seems virtually unchanged by the passing years that we cannot help but brag on her.
She has been my guide in so many ways since she married my dad in 1972 and watching her carry on as she does makes me rethink what life can be like as I move through my fifties and plan for the future.
I have been in the Atlanta area for about the last month and I arranged the dates of my visit in part so I could be here to celebrate her birthday. Most of us would think of this one as a more significant birthday, the kind where a big party is almost expected, but respecting Cullene’s wishes, we will keep the gathering small.
I have written about the profound impact of her influence on my life in several earlier posts and you can read some of them here and here or even more if you put her name in the search column on the right.
Cullene has agreed to let me take a few photos, but she has never been a fan of having her picture made and from the look on her face in the photo above I think her lack of enthusiasm for the camera began at an early age.
Happy Birthday, Cullene!