Jim and Rob -- the cake says, "Happy Birthday, Rim."
Last night, we had the first of Jim's birthday parties. Tonight, we are doing the reverse of the usual "surprise" parties. Instead of Jim being surprised -- like that was gonna happen -- Jim planned his own party. Then, he called together several friends and told them that that they would be receiving a call today at 4pm telling them where the party would take place. So, the surprise is on the celebrants! (I'll tell you all about it tomorrow).
Meanwhile, last night, we had an intimate gathering for some friends, including Rob and Linda Leahy. Jim and Rob have been friends since college -- and they were born on the exact same day, August 16, 1946. (Yes, Jim is 60 years old today.) And how could it be better? He's starring in a critically-acclaimed sold-out hit play that he wrote himself. He has friends who adore him. Fans who think he's the greatest thing since sliced bread. And, of course, best of all...
Front: Steve, Linda Leahy, Piper Laurie, Alvin Schuster, Mariam Schuster.
Back: Travis Terry, Michael Sugar, Rob Leahy.
Everyone again, but with Jim in the middle.
Here's Steinbeck loaded up on cake and booze.
It was really nice that Piper Laurie came over to celebrate with us. Jim made his famous turkey meatloaf, mashed potatoes and steamed vegetables. We watched some fun videos -- one of Piper back in the 60s on a Bob Hope special where Ethel Merman comes rushing into the room and, mistakenly, calls her "Peter Laurie."
The other was some vintage Zero Mostel footage from the original Carol Burnett pilot called "Carol Plus 3."
It would have been nice to have had more friends over, but this is pretty much the capacity of our apartment (and silverware). That's why we divided up the party into two. And there are still more friends we would love to have included, of course. But you can't do everything.
And, anyway, this is about Jim. I don't know what my life would have been without him. It's impossible to imagine. For several reasons:
1. He puts up with me. (This is not easy. I make myself look really good in my blog, but the fact is I'm pretty solipsistic by nature. I forget birthdays, I never remember details of anything anyone has told me about themselves, I'm egocentric and self-centered. The list is endless. But Jim makes me look good. He is, indeed, my other half and I cannot imagine not being with him.)
2. He gave me a career in the theatre. (What most people don't realize is that, in theatre, it's all about the book, i.e. the dialogue and the characters. Musical scores rise and fall based on how well the book writer pulls them together. Without him, I would still be an unknown songwriter in L.A. with a demo tape trying to get Britney Spears attention.)
3. He makes me laugh.
4. He kept me alive. He sat in my hospital room and held my hand and gave me the will to survive. He learned to give me shots, change bed pans, replace I.V.'s and, well, the list is endless. I would not be alive today without him.
5. He forgives me. My list of idiocies and idiosyncracies and stupid moments, and weakness and failures are endless. He never complains. Never whines. Never asks for anything.
6. He loves me. That might be the hardest thing of all.
7. He lets me take care of him. I love him. I think he's a great actor, a great writer, a hilarious person, a man of heart and substance. He remembers everyone's name. He remembers everything we ever did, when we did it, and where. He lets me see him at his most vulnerable, and I love taking care of him. He gives me the honor and privilege of caring for him.
I could go on and on. He is 60 years young, and it seems like both we and our careers are just beginning. I like it like that, to tell you the truth. The future looks fantastic. I just want it to continue on. The second greatest day of my life was the day we met.
The greatest day of my life is today.