A birthday toast for Byrne
Today would have been Byrne Miller’s 101st birthday, and I’m celebrating by sharing a photograph from a birthday party long ago in Mexico. My thanks to another sister-by-Byrne, Pam Susen, who found this image in a box of slides. Byrne’s own handwriting is on the label – but all it says is Chihuahua, November 3rd. Dates never did matter to Byrne – she lived to be almost 92 and had no qualms about getting older. She never called it “aging,” but “advancing.” As in – the day I met her, she helped me carry my heavy television lights onto her porch to interview Duncan. In the book I quote her as telling me, “I am not as feeble as my advanced age implies.”
She appreciated every year she got to spend on earth – even the tough ones, after Duncan was gone. I love this photograph for the exuberance it catches – she’s thrilled that friends went to the effort, on the road, to surprise her.
So tonight, on the porch where we shared many a slice of cake and glass of wine, I invite my brothers and sisters-by-Byrne to raise a glass again at sunset. To the woman who still makes us beam. Happy Birthday Byrne!
5 thoughts on “A birthday toast for Byrne”
November 3, 2010 at 8:21 AM
Tonight of all nights, knowing Art will once again be under siege, we don’t need an excuse to raise a glass to honor an artist and enduring free spirit.
Thank you, Theresa – for sharing her with those of us who weren’t fortunate enough to have known her other than through your words.
November 3, 2010 at 3:50 PM
I’m powerfully saddened, too, today. Byrne’s continuing advancement – even in absentia – is certainly worthy of a raised glass, a grateful acknowledgment of her spirit, and a moment’s pause to consider the tumultuous events of the last few days. How would Byrne direct our energies toward uplift? You know she would. Barbara’s right – Thanks, T., for bringing Byrne back to our lives.
November 3, 2010 at 4:27 PM
In honor of Byrne this week I am teaching my students the poem Jabberwocky which was the source of one of her dances. I pointed to her photo which is on my classroom wall and talked of her importance in my life and the importance of memorizing poetry. Always in my heart.
November 4, 2010 at 10:26 AM
Yay! She would love that. How wonderful that all of us found a way to say Happy Birthday. Mary Wiz gave us a call, saying she was drinking a wine that suited Byrne to a T – leggy, and with a bite!
November 5, 2010 at 1:25 PM
I never talked with Byrne on her age or birth. She was only a wonderful and great dance teacher to me. She also showed me the stews which could be made from nothing and how each stew could serve a lot of people; all the dancers in the studio and more. It was wonderful to know her in those years she was in Santa Fe, NM and the times I visited her in Beafout.