|February 9, 2013 in a nutshell|
“Do not throw me a party. I don’t want a party!”
In the months leading up to Jeff’s birthday, I had tossed around a handful of ideas to celebrate the big 3-0. It is, after all, a milestone year and a milestone birthday can’t be treated like just any other day.
Bidding goodbye to his twenties and saying hello to his…GULP…thirties had to be thoughtful, memorable, and simply put – AWESOME. Even if he didn’t want a bash to end all birthday bashes, Jeff’s celebration would be sure to knock his socks off. A team of no fewer that thirty people would make sure of that.
It started a month ago, on a random January morning, when Jeff received his first letter. It was from a childhood friend who was once like a brother to him and with whom Jeff hasn’t spoken in years. I studied his perplexed expression as he fumbled with the envelope, unfolded the letter, and began to read. What I knew was that the letter had been carefully composed of priceless memories of the misadventures of Jeff Kohlhoff and Alex Cubbage, two best friends growing up in a suburban neighborhood in Georgia with the world at their fingertips. What he didn’t know was that he would continue to receive such letters from family and friends, near and far, every day for the next thirty days.
The last letter arrived on Saturday, Jeff’s thirtieth birthday. I had carefully organized the day’s events around some of his favorite things, including an early morning trip to the beach for front row seats to a spectacular sunrise over the Mediterranean. His gift, however, was the proverbial “icing on the cake” and well worth the planning, organizing, and waiting. Opening the box, Jeff found a book entitled 30 Years, 30 Days, 30 Letters in which all of the letters he had received leading up to this day had been compiled. But the last envelope, envelope number thirty, had yet to be opened. My heart was racing as he peeled back the seal and pulled out the contents – airfare and accommodations in Nice, France alongside tickets to a race which doesn’t take place until May. Watching his expression transform from curiosity to realization to elation when he unveiled tickets to the F1 Monaco Grand Prix was for me the highlight of the day.
For those of you who may not bat an eye at motor sports, the Monaco Grand Prix is the crème de la crème of car racing and certainly on the bucket list of racing aficionados young and old. Driving part of the racetrack in Monaco back in 2003 was a highlight for Jeff and his Dad which sparked a dream of watching the race live someday. Thanks to the help of a loving family and friends, that some day will be May 24-27 when Jeff will walk the track, tour the pits, and become one of the lucky few to check off this dream from his bucket list. Forget a party…the best of this milestone birthday is yet to come.