Coffee in My Garden – My Birthday, Gene Wilder, and Jacques Cousteau

Jacques Yves Cousteau

Jacques Yves Cousteau

Gene Wilder in Young Frankenstein

Gene Wilder in Young Frankenstein

Last Tuesday was my birthday and Gene Wilder’s – Happy Birthday, Gene! (I tweeted him. He didn’t tweet back. Wished him the happiest of birthdays anyway – loved you in “Young Frankenstein”).

It was Jacques Cousteau’s birthday as well, though he’s long gone. He did wish me a happy birthday once.

When we were stationed in Virginia, Jacques Cousteau and I just happened to be in Norfolk on our mutual birthdays, a June 11 in the year or two after hubby and I were married. I don’t remember what we were doing in Norfolk (we were stationed at Fort Lee Air Force Station) or how we learned that the Calypso was in port but by the time we found out she was getting ready to leave. We zipped over anyway just in case – and there he was! Jacques Cousteau! Hubby wasn’t sure, and I wasn’t totally, but I couldn’t let this opportunity go by. What if it was him and we met later in heaven and he refused to acknowledge me because I didn’t wish him a happy birthday in Norfolk, VA in 1970 something? He didn’t know it was my birthday. I knew it was his. The onus was on me.

So just this once I broke Mother’s Southern Lady Rule #1 – Never Yell Unless There’s a Fire – and hollered “Bonne anniversaire, Monsieur Cousteau!” (thank you, Mother, for my French tutor and thank you, theatre for teaching me to project).

He looked up and I reverted back to my middle-school cheerleader self and waved and smiled, probably even jumped up and down a few times.

He yelled back “Merci beaucoup!” and smiled and waved back.

Then my normally quiet hubby pointed at me and yelled “It’s her birthday, too!” in his best command voice.

And the reason I will always love Jacques Cousteau – he wished me “the happiest of birthdays” as he sailed off into the sunset, expressed his regret that he hadn’t known sooner and said if we were ever in port at the same time anywhere in the world again he would personally escort us on a tour of the Calypso as a special birthday present to me.

And I think he would have.

I still think of him every year on our birthday (and Gene) and all of my other friends I am blessed to share a birthday with – Elle (Vein of Gold and Daring Greatly Sister), Justin (Go Air Force!), Danielle (who I recently filmed a movie with), Michele (my old neighbor from back home) and Frenchie from first grade – we had a fight when we found out we had the same birthday and I said “You can’t have my birthday. You have to get a different one.” Sorry about that. These days my philosophy is the more the merrier!

June 11 is a great day to be born, y’all!

Update: From my friend Michele from back home – Also born on June 11: Shia LeBeouf, Joe Montana (same year as us!), Hugh Laurie, Vince Lombardi, Dr. Oz, Chad Everett, Adrienne Barbeau, Diana Tarausi, and Greta Van Susteren.

Okay, y’all – party next year at our house – you’re all invited!

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