Sunday, July 10, 2011


Cleverly set up, this photo of Bill Foster, commanding a table with drink in hand, was so life-like I called to him from the street thinking he was set to greet his guests for his seventy-fifth birthday.  Bill is from  Angels Camp and is a medical miracle. He has spent more time in hospitals trying to kick the bucket than anyone I know. It’s no fun being a medical miracle, but what I admire about him most is his irrepressible sense of humor through it all.

He was actually greeting his guests inside the front door and I caught him with two of his grandsons.

I believe this neon sign with the State Farm logo is going to be on his tombstone   Once you are a State Farm agent, always a State Farm agent. Out of college, he served as a pilot in the air force, but  State Farm snagged him for life.  He always referred to the people he worked with as part of the State Farm  family, and they came to celebrate him in numbers.

There were a number of his good neighbors there as well, and I have no clue who was who by their names, but they and he  knew, and that is what was important. I heard some joking about his days with State Farm and more about his medical adventures.  Bill is a generous, helpful friend and neighbor and I treasure our friendship because he is intelligent, knowledgeable and mentored me many times through my insurance decisions.

This fellow told me if you take a picture, do it right. I took it twice so I hope it meets his approval.

His son Steve with Linda Strangio a close friend of Bill’s who helped bring the party together. We who were not with State Farm, were in the minority.

Another very special person in his life is “Mama Sue”, a local woman who has lived in Angels Camp for 51 years. She cooked for him, and kept his house during most of his medical problems.  He calls her his angel.

Bill’s daughter Pam avoided the camera, but I did manage to catch her before she  completely turned away. I’ve never understood why people do that, because then they guarantee that you will get a poor picture of them. A terrific woman, she was the major mover behind this party and shed a tear as she verbally applauded her dad.

Bill’s good friends, Tom and Gail Crawford are from the Bay Area where Tom was insured by State Farm. Bill referred to Tom as a Nascar Racer. He always drove fast cars and was noted for speeding…and I guess he got a few tickets in his life.

When the cake arrived, Bill gave a very short speech, thanking his approximately 70 guests for coming and told them he was glad to have finally gotten “leied.”  But the best quip came from a woman who piped up and said “I think Mae West said it best when she returned from Hawaii . ‘I’m glad to be back home where you can get laid and they don’t get it mixed up with a  bunch of flowers around your neck.’
So, Bill-
You’re seventy-five
And still alive?
At seventy-three
You could not pee.
You have no enemies to meet,
Unless you stumble over your own big feet.
My best advice?
(It isn’t nice.)
Drink lots of gin.
It may be a sin.
But sin is forgiven.
So, sin is in.
Yes, drink lots of gin
So the doctor can’t win.
Happy Birthday.
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