Oh, man, have I been looking forward to today. But not as much as my friend Ellin has. Today, you see, is Ellin's birthday. It's a special one. Yep. Today Ellin turns 47. Now you may be scratching your head at this point and saying, "Forty is a special one. FIFTY is a special one. But forty-seven? Isn't that one that just comes and goes?" Normally you'd be right. But forty-seven is a special one for Ellin. She hated being forty-six, and as of today SHE ISN'T ANYMORE!!!
You can clearly see that Ellin is beautiful. What you can't see is that she's strong (one of the strongest women I've ever had the privilege of knowing), loyal (she's put up with my dubious antics for around thirty-five years, but I'm far from the only one she's loyal to. If Ellin loves you, she loves you. Period.), and she makes the best pizza west of the Schuykill (if my hometown readers aren't eating Ellin's pizza at least once a week, well, what the heck is YOUR deal?)
Ellin hated being forty-six because both one of her favorite aunts AND her beloved brother passed away when they were forty-six. She dreaded turning forty-six the way many of us dread changing that decade marker on our birthday cake. Forty-six wasn't a banner year for her. She's one of the best people I know, but the world sees fit to batter her around way more than her share. She gets to practice that 'strong' trait I mentioned more often that she should. It got a workout this year.
But you know what? She made it. And today she's forty-seven. Today is a new day. Today is important. Today is big.
Ellin and I have been friends since Junior High. I had my first drink with her. (yep, she's to blame) My parents were (and are) teetotalers, but Ellin's were not, so she would go through their liquor cabinet and pour out just a little bit of everything. We'd add orange juice and call it good. (it, um, wasn't) We are probably lucky to be alive. She was also the one right next to me when I went to my first concert (Nazareth, for those who haven't heard that story before. Now you're messin' with a son-of-a-bitch.) Somewhere around tenth grade we made a countdown chart to our High School graduation. That was the day we were gonna hop in a purple van and head to California. Instead, we headed to different colleges. Sometimes, in retrospect, I wish we'd done it. College would've waited a year. Many years and many adventures later we had our first daughters within six months of each other. I could tell you stories for a month, but I won't because, well, even the guilty deserve a little privacy sometimes. Of course if I told you purely fictional stories about Helen and Sammy's adventures some day...
(Don't sweat it, babe - not gonna happen)
I love Ellin.
Happy birthday, my friend. Cheers!