JB turned forty back in August, and I wrote him a letter:
From early emails between the reception desk and purchasing to a backpack full of Coors Light on New Year’s Eve. Lasers aimed at an adjoining Portland apartment, a punching bag drilled into the balcony. A moving van filled with our combined belongings, burning wrapping paper in our Las Vegas fireplace. A lemon tree, dual Lasik, the Sunset Station, one hundred adventures to Red Rock and Zion. The Kaibab squirrels in the Grand Canyon, an overturned snowmobile in Utah. On Y2K, an engagement ring. Another moving truck and an epic drive, oysters to celebrate a job offer from Microsoft. The strip of fake grass on our apartment deck for the cat, watching ferries slide back and forth in the Sound. Our snaggletoothed officiant ringing the church bell after we said I do. Your hand-picked dinner in Phuket as fellow Americans with burger plates looked on jealously. Diener driving us to our not-then-yellow house, thinking he had the wrong address. The first morning after Dog: the Great Brown Sea. In the high Cascades, a hummingbird in our camp. Two tiny outfits bought in Hawaii, pink and blue, because we didn’t yet know. A tiny Riley and a nurse who laughed and told us to never wake a sleeping baby. Our house torn wide open on one end, plastic to keep the raccoons out. A remote beach in Tofino among jutting black rocks and wave-smoothed pebbles. A tiny Dylan, arriving via nervous head-pats that felt like Lenny and the puppies. The loss of Dog. A patchwork Cat. A thousand dreaming conversations before finally saying goodbye to the yellow house. The deep melting glow of a ranch sunset, our family held in a great gentle hand made of sage and sky.
I could write night and day for every year I’ve known you and never come close to capturing what you mean to me. Happy fortieth birthday to you, and here’s to forty more amazing years of us.