When someone hits the ripe ’ol age of 80 and looks as good in the process of getting there as my dad, you don’t think twice about pulling out all the stops to celebrate the milestone.
So the Lippman-Valverde five hopped on a plane for the right coast during the kiddies’ spring break to be a part of “Team Poppee.” My sister Lisa, who lives in nearby Coral Springs, created t-shirts that matched a phrase my dad regularly utters to that family member (eg. the phrase on the back of my particular shirt was “How are the kids, Babe?” with “Team Poppee” on the front) and everyone wore their shirts at an afternoon bowling outing – just one in a series of gatherings that would mark this special weekend in the Sunshine State.
After the last pin was knocked down, the gang changed into their Saturday evening best and met back at my parent’s condo in Coconut Creek, where yet another surprise was waiting for Poppee: a white stretch limo (arranged by Lisa, me and my bro Gary, who had flown in from Dallas) would take the whole gang to dinner. The kiddies marveled at their first time in such a “long car” and I raised a toast to the 80th birthday boy as we rolled Trump-style to the restaurant. There, framed childhood photos of my dad lined the table and everyone enjoyed a great meal.
On Poppee’s actual birthday the night before, some extended family and friends that also live in Florida came over to the condo for the big b-day kick-off festivities – a party that brought back childhood memories of the occasional “Cousins Club” gatherings my parents would hold at our house in New Jersey. After so many years, I was once again chatting in person with my Uncle Marvin (dad’s bro), Cousin Laurie (now 60 but not looking a day over 40), and Auntie Barbara and Uncle Ira. Among other friends and family there to wish Poppee a Happy 80th were my niece Jessica & her fiance Chris, niece Chelsea and Tio Alex. There was even a Skype call with Uncle Mel and Auntie Carol (Cousin Laurie’s parents who were unable to attend)!
To wrap up the whirlwind trip, Lisa & her boyfriend Seth threw an outstanding Easter brunch at their place with a spread that included lox, bagels, homemade quiches and more. An unexpected treat for me was perusing Seth’s Yankee baseball card collection.
Oh, and lest I forget our show-stopping birthday gift for Poppee: a blanket with the kiddies images on it so he can always have his grandkids enveloping him when he’s watching “Cops.”
Perhaps the only element missing from the birthday boy’s celebrity status all weekend was the paparazzi, or should we say “Poppee-razzi”!!!