My son Charlie started his birthday at 4:45 yesterday morning by taking a nice stroll with his wife Tara from their apartment in Queens to the M train, which she takes on days she works in the city. Then he hit his neighborhood gym for a morning workout, picked up a cold brew and some breakfast and headed back home.
Charlie loves his life in the Big Apple, though he’s the most Appletonian New Yorker I know.
He greets his neighbors, worries about offending his apartment super, wears really bright clothes and chats with the street sellers he encounters on his long walks through the boroughs.
He recently posted an eloquent thank you note to a bodega owner he relied on for necessities throughout the pandemic when everything else was closed. Last week, he doubled back to buy a tamale he wasn’t even sure he wanted when the stand operator showed up and called out to him, “You look like you could use a tamale!”
He has a good heart that he wears on his paisley sleeves and he is unapologetically kind.
He’s been that way since he popped into this old world, smiling, on July 8, 1987. I marvel that he has been able to maintain his Midwestern grin and unique sense of fashion through a decade of life in New York.
In fairness, the city has been equally quirky and good to him. Where else could a guy who wears velour tracksuits and fuschia headbands call Fashion Queens host and high style maven Bevy Smith a friend?
Or show up regularly in full Packer regalia to a Patriots bar?
Or lead a sign-along on a train from the Bronx?
Or meet his bride on the set of the Meredith Vieira Show?
Though I wish he lived close enough to come home for Sunday dinners, I’m really glad he has made New York City his home and I’m especially proud that he has been able to do it without giving up any of his zany charm.
Happy birthday Charlie and congratulations on your 10-year Big Apple-versary.