It's June 15, which means it's Mike's birthday. Mike has been my buddy since third grade; these days, I'd say he's a brother, not a buddy—part of the family. Mike is a couple months older than I am, which means that, when it comes to birthday milestones, he's always the first one over the cliff.
In this case, that cliff is Age 45. Yes, Poison Girls: today, we celebrate the fact that my old friend is now halfway to 90. He and I have reached the age where we can no longer hide the gray hair except chemically, and we have to see a doc for colon-polyp checkups and to get weird growths lasered off our skin. Mike wears his age well; he's a cheerful, generally optimistic guy—very happily married, with three great kids. I don't know how he divides his energy among his various familial and work obligations; if I were in his shoes, I'd be dead, or at least dead tired.
Despite being thousands of miles away from Mike and his palatial abode in Fredericksburg, Virginia, I stay in touch and involved with his family. Lately, that means Skype-tutoring his eldest daughter, who is also my goddaughter. I've been working with her on SAT English and math, and have tutored her in French. I just heard that there's a chance I'll be tutoring Mike's only son in French; the boy's got an ear for accents and the gift of gab, so I imagine he'll take to French pretty easily.
I therefore take this opportunity to announce to the world how proud I am to have a guy like Mike as my friend. He's been with me through thick and thin; he was there for us when Mom had cancer, and he's been my financial benefactor on more than one occasion. He's a stand-up guy, a bro, and someone I can look up to. One day, perhaps, he'll tell me the secret to how he maintains such low blood pressure compared to mine.
Happy Birthday, Mike! And many happy returns.
ADDENDUM: Coincidentally, it's Father's Day in America, so Happy Father's Day to Mike and to all good fathers out there.