Today is the fourth of my past nine travel birthdays to be spent in Marloth Park…It’s truly a gift to be here…

We wrote in the caption of this photo, on my 70th birthday in 2018, at my party at Jabula with friends: “We’ll always remember this birthday as a special event for both of us; celebrating life, health, our experiences, and the fine friends we’ve made along the way.” For more from that date, please click here.

Today’s photos are from this post on February 21, 2018, the day after my birthday.

This morning, it dawned on us that today is the fourth of nine birthdays since we began traveling that we’ve spent in Marloth Park. We were here on this date in 2014, 2018, 2019, and now 2021. Of course, 2019 wasn’t so pleasant when I spent it in ICU in Nelspruit after open-heart surgery. But I leave that memory behind and think of the joy of the other three birthdays, among friends, my dear husband Tom, and the beautiful wildlife surrounding us.

Dawn had decorated the table beautifully for the party. Thanks, Dawn! By the time we were all seated, it was dark, cozy, and romantic.

In 2018, Tom decided we’d return to Marloth Park for my 70th birthday as a surprise to me. I couldn’t have been more excited! Tonight will be no different than the fun we had on three of those birthdays, spending this evening with Louise and Danie at Jabula Restaurant at a socially distanced outdoor table.

Our friends filled a big table on that date at Jabula Lodge and Restaurant. At the same time, we drank wine and cocktails, dined on fabulous food, and enjoyed the companionship of everyone at the table, along with many others who stopped by. Dawn and Leon, dear friends and owners of Jabula, made it very special as well.

Linda, Mick, and Louise, with Ken and Don standing. Linda and Ken will be here in Marloth Park next Friday, and others will follow in the months to come!

But, with Covid-19, every celebration must be different. There will be no large groups, no hugging, and no proximity to others. We’ll especially load up on repellent when, after weeks of rain, the mozzies are on a rampage with risks of malaria higher than ever.

At the moment, we’re outdoors on the veranda waiting for visitors to come to say hello. So far, only Ms. Dove and Helmeted Guinea-fowls and the Chicks have stopped by. But the day is young, and a lot more could happen between now and 4:45 pm when we head to Louise and Danie‘s for sundowners before we all head out to dinner. No doubt, it will be a good day.

Wow! We were thrilled with the “cake of the world!”  Local baker Janine even made the two representations of Tom and me totally by hand.

I’d thought about sharing past birthday posts but chose only to highlight the “big one,” my 70th, in 2018, although the others were special and memorable. In the realm of things, especially during these difficult times of Covid-19, and considering our current ages, birthdays aren’t as important as they once may have been.

However, few of us mind the love and attention we receive on our special day, once a year. That’s not to say that other days aren’t unique. At this stage in life, every day is truly a gift.

After the dinner plates were cleared, the cake was delivered to the table. Thanks, Kathy, for bringing the candles!

It’s hard for me to grasp how old I am. For some reason can’t wrap my brain around it. Gosh, it was only yesterday that Tom and I met when I was 43 years old, and he was 38. This June we’ll celebrate 30 years together. The time has flown.

Although, like everyone’s life, at times there were challenges, Together, we have stuck like glue, appreciating and embracing our loving and close union, which certainly was tested in those 1tenmonths in the hotel room in Mumbai, India. We stayed strong and determined together, and surprisingly, we came out on the other side unscathed. If anything, we are closer than ever. That, dear readers, is the best gift of all.

Kathy, me, Tom, Lynne and Danie at the end of the table.

No, there won’t be a cake or candles to blow out (a gross thought in times of Covid, anyway), no gifts to open (i don’t need or want a thing, no cards in the mail (although I’ve received some very thoughtful online cards), Before the day’s end, I’ll have more birthday wishes from family and friends, greetings from many Facebook friends and all the love and attention a person can imagine.

I am truly blessed and grateful. Thank you for all the warm wishes. Thank you for sharing this journey with us!

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, February 20, 2020:

The celebration on the Ganges River at night in Khajuraho. The nine umbrellas represent the nine planets. Hindus value every aspect of the planet and the universe. For more, please click here.

Comments and responses Today is the fourth of my past nine travel birthdays to be spent in Marloth Park…It’s truly a gift to be here…

  1. Dorothy Friesen

    Just opened my email and noticed it was your birthday. I know you won’t get this until Sunday, but I hope you celebrated in the new Covid style and enjoyed every moment.

    • worldwide-admin Post author

      Dorothy, thank you so much for the birthday wishes. It was a wonderful day, as are most days right now in Marloth Park, South Africa. We are so grateful to be here and the love and support of all of our readers helped us get through those tough months in India in lockdown. Stay safe, healthy, and content.

      Warmest regards,
      Jess & Tom

    • worldwide-admin Post author

      Dorothy, sorry for the late response. We had a few issues that are now being resolved. Thank you for your kind comments. We hope you are able to safely enjoy some time with family and friends.

      Warmest regards,
      Jess & Tom

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