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Older People


I was also with some older people yesterday, celebrating my friend’s
father’s birthday. Gerry, a first generation Irish immigrant, turned
70. His daughter and her husband threw an afternoon birthday party
for him, welcoming 30 or so of his friends in their backyard. After
the barbecue, after a few drinks, about 4 in the afternoon, they got
down to what they really enjoy: singing songs.

Almost everyone took a turn, especially the older folks. There were a
few Irish standards, one man’s hilarious version of “Delilah,” a
woman’s spirited George M. Cohan medley (which took place terrifyingly
close to the edge of the pool) and some songs from as recent as the
Seventies. Gerry himself has a beautiful voice and favored us with
“Jean.” I’m guessing it’s a part of Irish pub culture that this group
of mostly immigrants brought here with them, but it struck me as a
wonderful way to spend time with your friends and family. And then it
struck me that it’s a dying custom, something we just won’t see at all
30 years from now. Happy birthday, Gerry.


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