50

If you've ever wondered what a cubicle full of 50 balloons looked like, this is it. I have such wonderful coworkers!

 

It's been a week since I turned 50 and I haven't been asked to fill out any retirement papers nor have I even received a letter of invitation from AARP.

Let me share with you my "turning 50" experience.

I woke up and my wife Cathy had already gone to work. Being a reporter I knew she was up to something because she had been asking strange questions about where I was going to be Friday night. Was I going to the Maroon game? Did I want to have a tailgate party?

Number one, Cathy seldom cares where I am because it's usually at work, at a meeting or with my nephew Logan. Number two, of course I was going to the Maroon game, what kind of question was that? Number three, what guy doesn't want to have a tailgate party?

Before heading to work I hopped on line to see who was up on Facebook. I found a bunch of birthday greetings and thanked each one. My former coworkers at WLUK Fox 11 posted a couple pictures wishing me a happy 50th. I thought that was really nice, so I called my sister Michelle in Green Bay and asked her to drop off some donuts.

On my way into work at the EagleHerald I stopped at a local bakery to pick up some treats. They were all out of sweet rolls, so I bought a bunch of cookies. Knowing my crew I knew that wouldn't suffice so I drove over to Menominee and picked up a couple dozen donuts and sweet rolls to go with the cookies.

I walked in and gave the folks up front first crack at the goodies and made my way into the newsroom. There I found my coworkers standing near my cubicle. They all wished me a happy birthday and then had a good laugh when they saw my jaw hit the floor.

They closed off my work space with paper and filled it with 50 HUGE balloons. Inside the cubicle of balloons were also gag gifts like a giant diaper, Fix-o-dent and Old Fart wine. My boss even gave me a scratch-off lottery ticket inside a nice card. I won a dollar. Please don't tell the IRS, I think if you win a dollar on your birthday you should be able to keep it without going into a higher tax bracket. I also received a nice Packers rug and towel.

My phone was pretty busy throughout the day. My mom and sister Chris were already on my voicemail singing Happy Birthday. Jody Korch, one of our sports guys called and played Happy Birthday to me on his electric guitar. No one has ever done that before. That was cool.

My surprise tailgate party was supposed to start at 4:30 p.m. Unfortunately I had gotten so backed up from all the well-wishers that my story for the next day was more in my head than on paper. I started to get some not-so-subtle hints that I was holding things up.

A couple family members showed up at my desk like enforcers for the mob. They demanded I drop what I was doing and to get myself over to the party. Now! I held my ground, saying I had to get my story finished. I asked them to give me an hour, just one hour. They gave me "the look" and then briefly conferred with each other and ultimately agreed to give in to my request. I took my time on the story and made sure it was worthy of print and then headed over.

Once there I found family and friends gathered around eating and drinking (soda) it was a great time. My brother Mark and his wife Beth brought a comfy recliner for me to sit in. My nephew Logan and niece Jennifer helped me open cards. Gene and Nellie Beland of Superior Auction and Appraisals held an impromptu auction with a couple of my possessions... it was crazy and fun.

On my way to my seat on the "50" yard line, several people along the way wished me a happy birthday. As I got to the stairs to walk up, the field announcer broke the news to everyone in the stadium and then the whole section sang Happy Birthday. Later, the guys on the radio made fun of me and my age. It was wonderful.

If I would have know turning 50 was so much fun, I would have done it 10 years ago.

To everyone who made my day so special and memorable, thank you from the bottom of my 50-year-old heart.

And that's today's Talk of the Town.