Wednesday, November 16, 2011


I've done my birthday to death now.
This one is not about me.

One year when I was working at the school,
I happened to hear that one of our volunteers
was having a birthday.
She was a sweet old gal who
brought to mind Edith Bunker.

On a whim,
I put a candle in a hostess cupcake
and presented her with it.
She burst into tears!
Oh crap!
Leave it to me to make Edith Bunker cry.

She explained that she and her husband and never had 
children and all her own siblings were gone.
She had not had a birthday cake or card
since her husband had died three years prior.
Blew me away.

I think about my own dad...
who once said to me
"Birthdays are like any other day.
Nothing special."
when I handed him my card.

I knew that they had been special when I was a kid
and we had family parties.
I knew they were special all the way up
until my mother passed away.
Then it wasn't the same anymore.

But he still had me and my kids living in the same town
and my brother and sisters
who came up every few years to spend a few days celebrating with him.
It wasn't the same, but there were people who loved him
close by.

Obviously I love birthdays and holidays...
I celebrate my day for a whole week until it arrives.
I hope I never lose that.

I think that I have begun to understand that let down.
Cards are mailed early to make sure they arrive on time.
They are opened and read and put on the mantle.
When you are alone, 
it must be bitter sweet to be remembered from afar.
By the time your day or holiday arrives,
the celebration is pretty much over.

For those older people who have living family who 
don't live near, but care...
there are phone calls.
But I think the end result must be that same bitter sweetness.
Once the calls end,
they are still alone.

I'm sure the cards and being remembered are good things.
But I wish there was something more.
Something that lasts longer.

I guess that's where church groups
or other senior groups come in handy.
The in-laws belong to a camping club.
I will be attending their culb's
Thanksgiving get together this Saturday.

Its a great group!
Many have joined with their spouses
and the spouse passes away...
but they still have their camp buddies who
make a point of having celebrations for everyone in the group
who is alone.

But I know there are people out there,
like my Edith Bunker,
who are just plain alone.

I know a man named Jack.
He was the man that I had considered working for...
as his housekeeper before the man and I committed to each other
and I agreed to move in here.

I don't know Jack's birthday.

Since he cannot leave his home...
I think the day after Thanksgiving that 
I should take him a plate of goodies...
and share some laughs.



  1. I think Jack would like that. I think being recognized doesn't have to wait until the day of birth. It can be any day.

  2. NoRegrets- You are absolutely right. I think I need to visit him more often. I can't visit my dad much, but I can visit Jack. And hopefully someone will visit my dad likewise.

  3. my birthdays were infinitely more enjoyable before i quit drinking.

    when i enter heaven i'm heading straight for the bar. that's where i'll most of my friends.

  4. billy pilgrim- Tell you what... I'll meet you there!

  5. I don't make a big deal out of my birthdays anymore because I don't want to mark the passage of sooooo much time. I do like Chinese food and copious amounts of alcohol to pass the day. My family always insists on cake, but that I don't need.

    But I do recognize that I am blessed to have my family around me, every day, not just on my birthday. Your poor Edith Bunker. That was very sad.

  6. Cube- I don't think it will ever be like it was when I was a kid, but still a day I truly enjoy. I'm all for copious amounts of alcohol! The cake, I agree, meh.

    I didn't know what to do when that happened, except hug her. But schools are great about things like that... the staff love to have a reason to bring goodies and she was not forgotten again.

  7. I enjoyed reading this post very much. Thank you. Hope you are still celebrating your special day.

  8. My father also say the same thing "Birthdays are like any other day.Nothing special." But I love to see the happy tears in his eyes when I give him a little b'day card... :)

  9. Mr. Shife- Thanks! I had a good birthday and am still winding down. That's the endless kid in me.

    StArry aNgel- My dad does too, but like yours, you can tell that he is delighted to be remembered.

  10. Jack would probably love a visit and some leftovers :-)

    Have a great week and thanks for your recent comment on *My Blog :-)

  11. you just never know what a simple act of kindness can mean to people. always listen to the voice that tells you to do something kind. thanks so much for sharing this story.

  12. Ron aka TheOldGeezer- The visit went very well and I think we all felt pretty great about it. He's got some funny stories to tell and I love a good tale.

    lime- You're welcome. I hope your holiday was wonderful!