My husband, Bob, will turn 70 soon. He’s been refusing to get out of bed.

Today I pulled his covers down. “Bob, 70 is the new 50.”

He pulled the covers back over his head and muffled, “What’s 80? The new dead?”

“Bob, look what you’re missing out on right now. A wonderful day with me. Come on. Get dressed and we’ll go to Four Seas Ice Cream.”

Four Seas is probably one of the most popular ice cream parlors on Cape Cod, where we live.

I said, “I’ll even treat you to one of their t-shirts. What color?”

“Black noir.”

“What size?


Later, he said, “I don’t feel 70.”

“What’s 70 supposed to feel like?”

“As cuddly and adorable as a tick.”

“I’m getting you out of this funk. We have this very moment to be in love with each other. I’m not missing out on it.”

That lifted Bob’s spirits. He held my hand as we walked to our car. He joyfully said, “We fell in love when we saw each other at Four Seas. Remember?”

“Oh yes,” I said, suddenly feeling a little wistful.

“You ordered extra cherries for your hot fudge sundae. They fell on the floor and you stepped on them. Everywhere you walked, you left little red dots behind you.”

“It seems like yesterday,” I said.

This 70 thing couldn’t be bothering me instead of Bob, could it? That feeling of wistfulness was now replaced by wanting to throw up.

Choking on my words, I said, “The place was packed. We locked eyes just as if we were the only ones there. You were wearing your light-blue work shirt and it matched your blue eyes.”

“That was over 40 years ago,” he said.

My shoulders did a grand slam slump. Then I ever-so-slowly put myself prone and face down in the grass.

“Saralee! Pull yourself together.” He helped me up and gave me a hug.

By the time we got to the ice cream shop, I was uncontrollably sobbing.

“Boy, will your birthday be rotten.”

He snuggled with me in the front seat. “All I want for my birthday is you.”

That’s all I needed to hear.

And so, just like the pair we were 40 years ago, we sat at the counter and had our ice creams. I had a hot fudge sundae with extra cherries, which didn’t fall off.v

Bob’s birthday will be a day to cherish, when two people in love share one fine occasion filled with dreams of long ago, the exquisite present tense, and courage for the days to come.


Nationally syndicated, award-winning columnist Saralee Perel can be reached at or via her website:

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