1928 Was An Exceptional Year

There are people whom one appreciates immediately and forever.
Even to know they are alive in the world is quite enough.

-Nancy Spain

Syerston 1951

Today I celebrate the birthday of a very special and dear friend of mine.

Steve and I “met” rather by circumstance as our paths intersected at quite a pivotal time in both our lives a few years back. Our friendship was immediate as we both were keen enough to appreciating the gems we had found in one another in extremely short order and we decided to cultivate it, despite the fact that Steve and I have never actually been on the same continent at the same time, nor shared a time zone.

We, an unlikely pair, separated by a little generation called the Baby Boomers and a pond of water called the Atlantic. I, a longstanding member of Generation X and Steve, a member of what has been coined the Silent Generation or, as scholars in his native England call it, the Air Raid Generation, being characterized by those having grown up as children amidst the crossfire of World War II.

Over the few short years of our acquaintance, I continually marvel at the world Steve so eloquently describes and allows me to journey back into with him….his childhood in England when he was WonderBoy’s age having been assigned his very own personal gas mask (it came with its own carrying case!), the loss of his brother in 1941 during World War II and the state of turmoil that England and the rest of the world was in during this incredible time in history.

I am always captivated when I read his words regarding the love he has for his beautiful wife, B, the love of his life….both yesterday and today…and I have been so lucky to share the gift of friendship with both of them today.

The example of marriage and committment they have set exemplifies the meaning of the vows for better or for worse and the importance of keeping love, respect and laughter in marriage.

Steve is a consummate gentleman. He is exceedingly intelligent, detailed, capable, precise and cautious…the very best qualities one can hope for in a gentlemen but even MORE in a pilot. Flying is his passion and although he has been grounded these past several years, he has flown most anything that flies. His impeccable recollections, through his flight logs and sharp memory, allow me to fly jump seat with him again on exciting missions for the British Royal Air Force for which he so honorably served for many years.

When we take our trips I can see right out the window of that aero plane (as he calls it in his perfect British accent!) high above the world of yesterday…little ole’ me…a traveler through space and time…from the dusty jungle runway in Borneo barely a patch beneath the treetops


to that breathtaking scare when my heart was in my throat as we were forced to take a blind approach over Colombo, Sri Lanka. Whew...what a wonderful way to travel with such an elegant, competent pilot at the helm! Through the many photographs Steve has generously shared with me I can hear the engines roar...


...and the sound of laughter as he and his buddies walk the streets of Venice, Italy in 1947.

Venice 1947

I've had the privilege of passing a few hours with him and a member of his crew as they sailed the ferry to Hong Kong and shared a beer...long before I was born.
Ferry to Hong Kong

Who says travel through time is not possible?

It’s never a dull moment with us. Some days I receive the most gripping history lesson I've ever had as he recounts missions he has flown or world sentiment at different points in time...better than any history class I have ever taken. Other days I recieve his musings on the House of Windsor, the current state of affairs of the British Parliament, a cartoon in the British newspaper of that morning or his thoughts on Global Warming or the credit crunch. Steve's record of forecasting beats any weatherman’s with regard to basic current events or situations. I will always remember that he called the severe economic downturn more than a year ago in our correspondence…."it just can’t end well" he said…"people spending money they don’t have on things they don’t need."

Over the years I have come to depend upon Steve in so many ways; his insight, his ability to pick up through my written word when I am not feeling my best, his genuine kindness and brand of caring, his wonderful sense of humor that always leaves me in stitches...and the sage advice that only one who has experienced life in such depth can impart. He has grounded me when I have needed it and has raised me up when I deserved it.

We have seen each other through surgeries, illness, childbirth (that one was me!), floods, disappointments, holidays, job changes, a spiraling economy, an historic presidential election, other friendships and family affairs and the day to day living that friends share.

In this modern world where life moves at lightning speed and people seem to have less time and even less patience, our friendship has flourished through a little box with a wire running from it called the computer…a box I never was very adept at and he almost missed altogether. I always smile when I see that little envelope signaling an incoming message from my dear friend wondering what will be on our agenda to discuss today or this week. We have even added a new medium to our repertoire…Skype. We have been meeting regularly at Cafe Skype most weekends with a cup of cappuccino and lots to discuss (granted its mostly me that does the talking…but Steve is a wonderful listener!)

It is pretty well established among connoisseurs of fine wine that 1928 was an exceptional year. This is evident as they speak of a highly coveted bottle of red wine from the Bordeaux region of France called Chateau Lafite Rothschild, a Pauillac. Its 1928 vintage is the envy of collectors throughout the world. That particular bottle of wine has a market value today of $3,000, 81 years after it was placed into its bottle in a little village in France.

I couldn't agree more with the wine connoisseurs that 1928 was a remarkable year, however, in my opinion, they can keep the Lafite……I’ll rather take Steve any day of the week. Like a fine wine he gets better with time and to me, he is priceless!

Happy, Happy, Happy Birthday, Steve…….before I met you, I didn't realize I was missing you and then one day you arrived just when I needed you most.

I cannot imagine life without you.

You mean more to me than you will ever know!

All my love to you and B, today and always!


  1. It is always such Joy to have a special person in your life who makes a mark there forever.
    Happy Birthday Steve!
    I am quickly finding your blog a 'must read'. I am enjoying the time I can venture over here and take a peek.
    Have a most wonderful weekend my friend.


  2. That was such a beautiful post....Happy Birthday to Steve.

    He sounds like a wonderful man and the kind of friend that will be with you through the thick and thin of an entire lifetime.


  3. What an amazing tribute to such a gentle man. You seem to have an amazing heart too and I am certain he needs you as much as you him. Love this post.

    Thank you for your visiting my blog and just your kind words. I will come and visit your blog again very soon.

    Have a happy day.

  4. What a beautiful tribute! True friendship is rare this day and age. You are both very lucky to have found each other.

    ~Happy Birthday Steve~

  5. So touching, well written story, made me feel like I know him a little too. Hope the birthday was happy!

    Alyzabeth's Mommy