That’s my pal, Melodie Johnson Howe, mystery writer extraordinaire and the proud celebrant at last night’s birthday dinner for her at Montecito’s Tre Lune. (She’s holding a piece of their yummy tiramisu.) I have friends who say, whenever a birthday approaches, “Oh, I’ve stopped counting,” or “I’m not doing anything for it,” or even “Don’t you dare tell anyone I’m another year older.”
I get that none of us wants to grow old(er). I get that once we reach a certain age, the giddy excitement we experienced as kids at birthday time is no longer giddy. And I get that age can signal an end rather than a beginning.
But hold on a sec. Melodie’s a great example of why all of the above is only part of the story. The other part is that there’s plenty to celebrate no matter how many candles are on the cake. She just published a book of short stories called Shooting Hollywood. She just sold a new novel to a major New York publisher. She just got all these fabulous blurbs for the novel from other critically acclaimed mystery writers. And she just made a deal to publish her earlier novels, The Mother Shadow and Beauty Dies, in their first ebook editions. An end rather than a beginning? I don’t think so.
A former actress in feature films and television, Melodie has a cameo in YOU’D BETTER NOT DIE OR I’LL KILL YOU. She appears in Chapter 7: How to Wait Out Waiting Rooms. During one of Michael’s surgeries in 2010, she sat with me in the waiting room at Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara and kept me sane. She even managed to make me laugh – something she does often. And when the surgeon came out of the O.R. to discuss how the surgery went, she was right there to ask questions, listen, support me. Why wouldn’t I want to celebrate her birthday? We caregivers should treasure those friends who stick by us in sickness and in health and make sure they have their tiramisu and more.