On Halloween, I turned 75. It seems like an impossible number to me. Most days, I feel great. I stay active, walking the dog, taking care of the house and working on a new freelance writing project for Nemours. We see a lot of our daughters and three grandchildren, and even during this long quarantine, enjoy hanging out in our house. As I've often said, I feel very lucky to be alive and doing well, as many friends and loved ones have not had that chance.
The kids surprised me with a very special gift: a brand new computer system, including a small laptop that serves as the CPU (central processing unit) and a 27" monitor. My old system, purchased 15 years ago, was a genuine antique although it was still running just fine. The system came loaded with the newest versions of Microsoft programs, as well. I really appreciated it, as it will help me so much with my freelance work.
A real surprise was a visit from my son Pete, who lives in Richmond, VA. We had not seen each other since last Christmas when we all gathered in Nashville for our 50th anniversary celebration.
Hannah and Reagan treated us to a memorable dinner at Fearing's in The Ritz-Carlton Dallas. Eight of us, including my 13-year-old grandson Booker, sat at the large square Chef's Table, first ordering cocktails. Reagan ordered barbequed oysters and trays of miniature Tex-Mex specialties. First came a tiny glass of delicious carrot soup with a Parmesan garnish. Then we all chose entrees from a very interesting Southwest-inspired menu. Booker, who was wearing his first suit and was giddy with excitement about being there, ordered a buffalo filet with grits and vegetables, which was a sophisticated choice for someone his age. As we were perusing the dessert menu, the wait staff came in singing Happy Birthday with a special dessert for me and miniature citrusy drinks topped with a meringue ghost for Halloween. Desserts included a pumpkin tart and apple hand pies with a cheddar crisp. Some of the guys ordered port to have with their coffee. Just as we were ready to burst, they brought in small stone tiles with tiny confections, including a chocolate lime one that looked like an eyeball!
The next morning, we gathered at a nearby park for a family photo shoot. The photographer took lots of group and individual shots. I can't wait to see the results. Then we headed off to a neighborhood restaurant for a big breakfast. Andy and Pete enjoyed multiple football games in the afternoon and we watched one of our favorite movies, Diner, while enjoying beef stew. On Sunday, we enjoyed a Tex-Mex feast at Hannah's house for our regular family dinner that included tortilla fillings, sauces, guacamole, refritos and queso fundito. I had baked a Mexican chocolate cake, which features ground pecans and chocolate with lots of cinnamon.
On Monday, it was back to work and school for most of the family and we drove Pete to DFW to catch his plane home to Virginia, with wishes for another reunion in the near future. Thanks to Alison and Matt, Hannah and Reagan, and Pete for making these plans and keeping them secret! All in all, it was a fabulous way to celebrate my 75th.
I'm Chris Barabasz, retired from a 35-year career managing communications for health care development (that's fundraising for you civilians). I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and freelance writer. My husband Andy and I moved from Delaware to Texas to be closer to our daughters and three adorable grandchildren.