Wednesday, October 19, 2005

You say it's your birthday....! It's my birthday, too, yeah!

Today is my birthday.

These days it takes me by surprise. I only remembered a few days ago that it was almost that time, which means more than anything time to renew the car tag and (this year) the driver's license.

When I was a kid, it was for me, like probably all of you, a big deal to have a birthday. However, I came from a rather underprivileged family, so birthday gift dreams often tended to be just that, dreams. Still, a kid always hopes. (And I am the oldest of ten; five of us have birthdays on the 13th, 15th, 17th, and 19th of October. Even in our destitute family, on the 19th my siblings were likely to say, "cake again?") As a teen and young adult, I rather expected a little something from friends and then-husband. And usually there was a little something.

But as time passed, gifts were rare, and the only card I knew for sure I'd get was from my grandmother (who in the past few years has resorted to calls like everyone else, and that's ok). Birthdays had become rather passé for me.

I'm not sure why I was surprised, but I received a number of lovely things today.

My ten-year-old grandson A called and sang "Happy Birthday." Every word of it, with "cha-cha-cha" at the end of each line. (Thank you, A.)

My mother called. This is rare for reasons I won't go into here, but it has nothing to do with disinterest on either of our parts. (Thank you, Mom.)

My wonderful friend S gave me a pure silk handsewn scarf from China, which she visited recently. The feel of the scarf defines luxury, and the colors are divine: blues and lavenders with a touch of citron. I love scarves and own several, but I am ten thumbs when it comes to tying them. I must Google scarf-tying, and immediately. (Thank you, S.)

My most wonderful-est friend E, who may well read this before I get a thank-you out to her, wrapped up a new bio of Eudora Welty in floral paper, a bio I didn't even know existed. She couldn't have made a better choice (and she probably knows it). (Thank you, E.) I am a Welty groupie. (My favorite Welty story is "Livvie," if you'd like to know.) I visited Jackson, MS three weeks after Miss Welty died. We found her home easily thanks to the fact that the Clarion-Ledger printed her address in a tribute story; we sat nervous and awestruck in the street outside her home for about 10 minutes. A black cat ambled across the front lawn and disappeared behind the trash cans neatly lined up next to the house. Mail peeked out from an overstuffed mailbox. Signs of life as usual, but the infamous resident of the legendary home was gone. (This photo is not Welty's house, goodness, no, but is a photo taken by Welty of a bottle tree like that described in "Livvie.")

Finally, a student gave me two cupcakes. I didn't advertise the day (as I'm doing here), but he mentioned that his b-day is soon, and I fessed up to mine, which later resulted in cupcakes at a particularly hungry moment in my day. (Thank you, J.)

There may well be other things at home, if I ever get there.

It's not original, but this is just to say that the best gifts are the love of family and friends, as symbolized by these lovely tokens, and I am surprised and pleased and humbled and thankful.

1 comment:

Waveflux said...

I missed your birthday! I'm sorry. Allow me to make amends by way of this nontraditional celebratory song that I once heard at a John McCutcheon concert:

Cut the Cake
words & music by Tina Liza Jones

We're gonna let 2nd grade out early today
Which made little Mikey kinda blue
He just turned 7 years old that day
And he thought he'd get a party at school
He walked back home and he's taken off his guard
There's chairs and tables all over the yard
And his friends jumped up and they hollered real hard,
"Happy Birthday to You!"


It makes me think of the good old days
Happy birthday to you
You sure grew out of your baby ways
Happy birthday to you
(7th 23rd, 92nd) birthday we wish you many more
Health and wealth and friends by the score
Cut the cake and let's eat some more
Happy birthday to you

Now Mike's 22 and he's working for his Pop
And his head's full of business thru and thru
He was planning out a whole new system at the shop
And he forgot he had a birthday due
He drove back home and he's taken off his guard
There's chairs and tables all over the yard
And his friends jumped up and they hollered real hard,
"Happy Birthday to You!"


Now it's old man Michael in a rocking chair
Admiring the view
He's still got all his teeth and he's still got all his hair
And today he's 92
He turns in his seat and he's taken off his guard
There's chairs and tables all over the yard
And his friends jumped up and they hollered real hard,
"Happy Birthday to You!"


I have two friends here in STL who celebrated birthdays this week. Plus my brother, whose gift I have yet to order. Man, I gotta get on it.

Happy birthday, Bitty.