If you go to Europe in June you probably shouldn’t plan your typical birthday road trip.
That is probably written in some life manual somewhere I’m sure. It makes sense especially since my birthday landed just over a month after my return to the states. Truth be told, the decision to forego my typical week long road trip revolved around work and the fact I didn’t think I’d have enough time to take another week off in August after taking just over two weeks in June. So, no birthday road trip this year. As luck would have it though, my birthday fell on a Saturday which meant I could still sneak away for it. Even if I didn’t go far away at least I could go somewhere.
Even if I wasn’t taking a full week off I could still go visit my sister in Utah for a couple of days and enjoy my birthday not here. Because if I’m not here my birthday can’t find me and I don’t age. By this method, I’m still at 29 + some change. At least, that’s what I’ve said for years. Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not one who hates her birthday. Far from it. I embrace it because there is only one way to stop having birthdays and… let’s just say someone at 29 + some change is not ready to stop celebrating. (Truth moment: I actually graduated to 39 + some change this year. The change was getting a little heavy)
Long story short, I went to Utah for a four day weekend. Besides not being home for my birthday I only have one other rule. I need to do something I have never done before. Usually it is accomplished with my road trip to someplace new but this year presented a challenge. I used to live in Utah before moving back home so what could I find that I have never done before?
I thought of going skydiving but I’m still paying off my Europe trip so that will have to wait. Plus, I’ll need someone to go with me to help me out the door because I’m sure there will be some kind of panicked, crazed moment to get me out of the plane. In other words, I’m going to need a good push. No on skydiving for now.
What to do? What to do?
Hiking? I live in Wyoming. I have hiked before. Camping? Wyoming. Water skiing? Let’s not get crazy with this. There is no need to bring water into the picture. Have I mentioned that drowning is on my list of intense irrational fears? Somewhere under bears but close.
After much thought I decided that on Saturday (the big day) morning I would go to downtown Salt Lake and purchase $44 (or 39 + some change) of burgers from the food court. Then I would hand out to the burgers to those asking for handouts. After all, I used to work downtown and I remember always being asked for donations. I didn’t want to hand out money; I wanted to hand out food. A lot of food.
I arrived Thursday evening after work and Lyn and her husband Foz took me to a place called J Dawg’s to eat. A few years ago, I went to NYC to visit Lyn while she was doing an internship. Her tour of the Big Apple included getting a hot dog from a vendor in Battery Park. I thought it was the most delicious hot dog I have ever had. In fact, ever since that trip I have tried to find a hot dog in comparison of that wonderful treat and have fallen short. A few days before my trip I mentioned it to my co-workers. And then to my niece. Her response? “You liked those hot dogs? They were so gross.” Hmmm. Funny how we remember things differently. I remember it correctly and she obviously remembers it all wrong.
But on Thursday she took me to her favorite SL hot dog place to share. They were good but they were no NY dog. I think it was the bread that I liked so much in New York.
On Friday, NJ, her friend Val, and I went to the Mount Timpanogos Temple. Since I have been to every currently operating Utah temple (see last year’s road trip) I have started over again. It’s been awhile since I went to Mount Timp.
Unfortunately, I developed one of my not so fun headaches on Friday which altered my plans. The only thing I accomplished was the temple trip with NJ and then dinner with MZ.
Saturday I had a lazy morning. In part to make sure my headache didn’t come back and interfere with my plans and also just because it was my birthday. And it was a Saturday, after all. My other nieces and their families Facetimed me and wished me a happy birthday. Afterward, MZ and I headed for downtown to accomplish my goal.
It has been awhile since I’ve been downtown. Apparently, panhandlers are not so welcomed. Or maybe they take the weekend off. We scanned the area and only found a few. I decided to only get $10 worth of burgers to ensure I was able to give all of them out. If needed, I could get more but I really didn’t want to end up with a load of burgers and have to waste them.
It took us over an hour and nine people (one at the end received two) but we handed them all out. Feeling a little cheap I went back to the food court when we were finished. Even though our town doesn’t have a Chick Fil A I have heard good things about the place. So, I stood in line and when my turn came I did a ‘pay it forward’ stunt. Hopefully, it helped someone.
I only share my odd celebration so that I can share a few lessons I learned. Just in case anyone is thinking of doing something similar.
- Judging by the lack of people on the street, I could have gotten bigger meals and fewer of them. Even though I wanted to help a lot of people, I doubt those little burgers filled anyone up. Especially if the person was hungry.
- Most people need some conversation. Now, I’m not one to visit. I don’t even sit and chat with people I know. But if you are someone with that special skill-set then a few minutes visiting might go a long way.
Everyone that received a burger was very appreciative. I received a few ‘God bless’ wishes. Just for a little burger.
After our trip downtown, MZ and I went to the aquarium in Draper. This also happened to be something I have never done before. It was a last minute thought that came to me the day before when we went to the temple and passed the aquarium. To my delight, the aquarium didn’t even smell like fish! They did have a little café though and I hoped no seafood was on the menu. How awkward would that be?
When we were through with the aquarium I decided to buy myself some gifts. A new pair of walking shoes and two new books. Neither book was on my books-to-read list. I also got a free book from Deseret Book just because it was my birthday.
For dinner, we met with Lyn, Foz, NJ and her fiancée HC. After dinner, we went to see the movie Dunkirk which is also what one of the books I bought is about. A full birthday indeed.
The next day we went to church with Lyn and Foz. That night I went to visit a friend I haven’t seen for years. We visited for hours. She is one of my missionary companions that I have known for 20 years and is now one of my oldest friends. We don’t get together often but when we do we catch up on everything.
On Monday, I planned to go swimming with NJ. But I didn’t plan very well. I brought everything I needed to go swimming except my swimming suit. It still sat in my suitcase from my June trip. Let’s not focus on the fact that I haven’t finished unpacking from June. That is not pertinent to this story at all.
And then it was over and I had to head for home. The end of vacation is always a sad day. Even if the vacation was short. Not bad for 39 + some change.