Alas, I have no photos — embarrassing or otherwise — to contribute to the wondrous collage that Teresa is organizing, but that deficiency should not prevent me from at the very least congratulating you on your entrance to the fifth decade of shuffling around this mortal coil.
Forty years old! I wouldn’t believe it, were it not for the fact that Peter celebrated his 48th and David his 45th, so I guess I must be reconciled to our kids not being kids anymore, some — like you — even having kids of their own. But when you get to be an alter Kacker like me, you start to fixate on things not as they are but as they were. In the case of Sam Boonin, there is clearly an intellectual process, a synaptic gap-bridging, before I can conjure up the image of a pater familias, a world traveler who has become more than the sum of his many parts. You will forgive me if I confess that my knee-jerk association with you will always be that brisk Christmas Eve morning — early, oy! very early — when the phone rang by us in Teaneck and your dad asked if I could pick him up from the hospital in Manhattan because Baby Sam had arrived. And so, when I say that I have known you from the very day your parents brought you home to 170 Sherman Avenue, having watched your gestation in the belly of mama, you will understand why it takes a nanosecond or two before I can visualize the 40-year-old you have now become.
Sam, throughout your life, I have been privy to the intermittent reports on your doings from your dad and have enjoyed sharing his justified pride in who you have become. Congratulations on the first 40 and very warm best wishes on the years that lie ahead. May they be many — always in good health, productive and full of joy, secure in the knowledge of your heritage and as inquisitive and adventuresome about the future as you have always been.