My birthday is today. I am 51. I remember my father's 51st birthday. It is the first birthday of his that I remember. I was seven. The previous summer we had moved to Butte, Montana from Winthrop, Washington. My father decided that seven years of cattle ranching was about enough fun and returned to teaching. He taught Chemistry at Montana Tech in Butte until his retirement.
his 51st birthday, my mom made him a cake. It had five big candles and
one little candle. I remember this so clearly. She counted them
off: "Ten, Twenty, Thirty, Forty, Fifty, and one." Blowing out 51
candles would have been vulgar. Once you hit fifty you start counting
Longevity is in the genes. I
celebrated with my father his 94th birthday this summer on June 6th. I
can't remember if we had a cake for him or not. If we did I am sure we
used those candles that are shaped liked numbers, 9 and 4. Funny, I
really don't remember if we had candles for him or not. After 94
birthdays he may have graduated from having to blow out candles. Just
give him his favorite, pecan pie, already.
has had a lot of birthdays. I haven't been there for all of them but
for a good number of them. I am lucky that way. I have to remember
that today. Because it is going to be a sad day. Zach won't be at
his old man's 51st birthday, let alone his old man's 94th should that
unlikely event occur.
It is those little things like
memories of birthday candles that come out of nowhere and heat up that
burning hole in the chest.
Here are a couple of photos
I just found in my Facebook collection. Here are my parents and me
from three years ago in Montana.
and I (and Lovely in the background) waiting outside Grimaldi's in
Brooklyn, NY on Thanksgiving 2010. That was a good trip.
Birthdays still happen until they don't. As impossible as it seems, we still have memories to make.