71st birthday invitation: “Bring hiking clothes, sunblock, and sex assists”

Memories of Robert are always gliding through my mind. Sometimes they arrive without any apparent prompt, but usually something I see (a hummingbird, ripened blackberries), do (a dance I can see see him dancing so gracefully), or hear (a song with words that break my heart) triggers the memory.

Today I unearthed an invitation I wrote to Robert for a mystery 71st birthday outing — the last birthday we would share. As I read it, I started to cry, but then burst into laughter when I read the end. Enjoy:

Dearest Robert,
We’re celebrating your 71st birthday at an unknown destination. Please clear your schedule from 12:30 pm Thursday until the next afternoon and pack the following:
• cool-weather, hiking-suitable clothes/shoes/jacket/hat
• restaurant semi-dressy/casual outfit
• swimsuit/ sunglasses/ sunblock/ outdoor slip-on shoes/sandals
• underwear, socks, moisture lotion for two days, one overnight
• sex assists: Wedge, Dr. Ruth, Liquid Silk, Buzzy, silk underwear

Your loving wife,


  1. Joan Price on October 3, 2009 at 12:05 am

    What a beautiful comment, James aka Barbara! Which Barbara are you? I'd love to thank you personally for your wonderful memories of Robert. Few people knew how funny he was, since he came across often as "professorial" (as I teased him). I hope you'll email me to let me know which Barbara you are. — Joan

  2. James on October 2, 2009 at 11:54 pm

    Joan, I've been looking at your blog page, and its wonderful. Don't worry about those who are embarrassed about sexuality. It's fun to hear stories about your relationship with Robert. He was one of my favorite people. His sense of humor tickled me endlessly. As you know so intimately, his spiritual depth, intelligence, grace and talent made him one of the most unique of men. He was beautiful and funny on the inside and out. He is missed and thought of very fondly by many. A big hug to you, it must be nearly unbearable at times. But I'm sure he would want you to above all, dance, and find joy wherever you can. Barbara

  3. paula, 57 on August 22, 2009 at 8:20 pm

    Hi Joan,

    I think of you often, it's as if you and Robert were our personal friends. Sharing your stories about the two of you has probably helped many many people.


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