Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Today is my birthday. I have had many now. I share my birthday, not by choice, with my mother who is 80 years old as of today. (The story of her suduction of my father and bribery of the doctor, to this end is another story for another day.)

 Birthdays are always somewhat reflective and reminiscent to me, and I am glad to be here and have to wonder how many more might be ahead. This may well be the last one for my mother, who very nearly didn't make this one having spent last week in the hospital getting a gallon of fluid drained off of her cardio/pulmonary area. Who knows how many more any of us get, until it just is the last one, and then I guess you won't know or care.

Remembering the early ones tho is fun, to remember details, first parties, first cards, and even the first awareness of what a birthday really was. The first one I do remember was accented by mother having her friends over with their respective kids, and we stood at long, low tables with paper coverings set out under the car port . We had cake and ice cream in the little tubs that you dug out with wooden spoons. They all sang to me, and to my mother.

I also remember the women as they stood around us kids, dressed in their very late 50/s garb, full skirts, fitted bodices, and the pocket book draped on their left arms, lips brightly covered with red, hair cropped short, and all smiles. I do not remember what gifts I got that year but I do recall how difficult it was to take a nap before the party when I was so full of anticipation about it.

I have  a scrap book which mother kept up for me when I was little and the book contains many of my first birthday cards from my grandparents and other relatives and friends, their signatures faded but their scripts still obviously theirs. The hands that wrote them are long gone now, and they will celebrate birthdays no more in this life. To see these cards and these best wishes from the past makes me want to say thank you to them now for making me understand that on your birthday it is a special day, and one that should be taken stock of because they are not guaranteed.

Perhaps one of the most disappointing gifts that I ever got was for my 16th  and was from my mother. I was turning driving age, finally, and was really hoping the trend of my brothers receiving new cars for their passages, would continue on to me. In that mind set, one day as we came toa stop in our driveway, my mother suddenly turned to me and said that she just could stand it any longer and that she had to tell me what I was getting for my big 16th. "You are getting a Porche", is what I heard.

I sat there in stunned amazement and giddiness while I listened to her begin to describe it....What I didn't hear was the type of Porche, color etc. She was saying things about how exquisite the details in the dress were. We were absolutely on different planets in this moment and it took a long while for me to understand that she had indeed not said "Porche" but "Portia". I was looking at her dumbfounded, which she probably took as a sign that I was over whelmed with the news that, instead of a hot new car, I was so thrilled to be getting instead,,,a 12 inch tall porcelain statue of a woman... and what 16 year old would not be thrilled with that news?

I did not spoil her excitement that day at this gift she was so happy to be sharing with me. I did tell her years later and she had had no idea about my disappointment at getting no Porche. It was probably a good thing I didn't get one. I drove my early years with a heavy foot on the peddle, and the hand me down car I did get obliged by going way faster than I should have gone. I was lucky to have survived my youth, and hope to continue surviving the rest of this ride, at a slower pace.

I have had a good one so far, and a good day today. My horse went so well on my morning ride, and the air is beginning to feel like fall isn't that far away.  I have been a bit overwhelmed with Happy Birthday wishes from so many folks that I am feeling pretty good about reaching another milestone. Tonight I will raise a toast that they keep on coming for both myself and my mother. 

This week began with a visit from one of my favorite folks, my sister in law. Together, she and I and Mark peeled the  36  or so pears and made  and canned the 2010 batch of pear relish that everybody in the family will get to put on their veggies thru the winter. The recipe is a legacy from my grandmother and is closley guarded. Its yearly production is arduous but is so satisfying to know that there will be ample supply once again, for this year.  We go to the mountains next week for Mark to teach a photo workshop and I get to just chill out and enjoy the break.  aaaaahhh. Happy Birthday to me...

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