Thursday, May 1, 2014


I open one eye and see a grey rectangle that is my window. Another drizzly morning devoid of  spring color and I consider staying motionless under my down comforter for the remainder of the day.  It is my birthday and I should do what I want. I have slippers from New Zealand waiting under my bed, a gift from my mountain-dwelling son, he knows cold and it is cold.

The polar blasts have pounded my corner of the world all winter and they will not relinquish their hold even though the calendar says late April. "I remember the year you were born," my father will tell me later today, "the lilacs were in full bloom." Those poor bushes are barely sprouting leaves in this crazy frigid weather.

I hate birthdays. A day when all eyes swerve in my direction. I cringe every time the phone rings. I will need to make light and spirited conversation something I am not good at.  I am grateful for the wealth of family and friends in my life. I just don't wanna talk about it or necessarily to them.

Supper with my father and I'm cooking.  What? skawk several of my friends through the course of the day. You're cooking, on your birthday, sqawk!  But it's my dad, I explain and he sent me this really cool card. And he did, a little girl with a pixie haircut striding across the front of the page. "You walked like this," he tells me, "when you were little, like you were on a mission." Probably looking for my Lennon Sisters' coloring book. He writes in bold capital letters, "you are one of the luckiest things that ever happened to me." Drat, there's that watery eye thing happening.

I remember when I was fourteen.  Sonny had arranged an interview for me at the S.S. Kresge store. A friend of his wife managed the underwear department, a position envied by all the other ladies in aqua nylon tie-in-the back smocks with ink-stained pockets. I fretted this whole thing with all the teen-aged angst I could muster. What if I fail? I will have let down the old man. No one will ever hire me. I am an insignificant insect in the unemployed hordes and it is there I will remain.

My father heard my muttering and I poured out my soul, as much as I could to my pipe-smoking, kind of nerdy dad. He looked back at me in those black-framed glasses and sharp Marine-precise crew cut and said, "when you walk into that man's office, that is the best thing that happened to him all day."
Needless to say, I got the job.

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