How to Muse on Your Birthday

The other day my wife Patty asked me what I wanted for my birthday, which is January 29. I thought for a moment. I’m a very lucky critter. Unlike billions of people around the world. I don’t need or want any material thing—except for one thing.

I responded, “A haircut.”

Due to Covid, I haven’t been to my barber, Rex, since March. He’s been my barber for four decades and is the best in the world. Patty has filled in temporarily and does a very fine job.

Then, during lunch on January 28, she joked, “You’re going to be old on your birthday.” I’m 71 this birthday. I’ll admit it: I robbed the cradle when it came to hitching up with Patty. She’s just a kid—all of five months younger than I am.

January 29th was a fun day of hearing from many great people I haven’t seen in person for too long in these Covid-shrouded times.

I always look forward to the message that my nephew, Ron, sends along, a new version of every year. This year’s:

“At your age, I bet the candles cost more than the birthday cake. You are so old your birth certificate says expired on it. Watching the movie Jurassic Park probably brings back a lot of memories. Hahaha. A couple more: Remember going to that antique auction and three people bid on you? So old your first car was a covered wagon. Hope you have a really good birthday!”

He’s a mere youngster,13 years younger than I am. And, with his birthday in the fall, I have many months to figure out an appropriate birthday wish for him.

Our friend Lori texted this short video as a reminder that I’m only as old as my knees (But what if I had knee-replacement surgery. Which I haven’t. Would I be 1 again?). Please note: This is not me in the video, although I’m there in spirit. Click on the sound to get the full effect:

And my friend Jerry (he’s just a kid, too, only 70), who has put up with me since high school, sent along this poem—he is a poet in heart and writing:

Seventy-one doesn’t sound like fun
Although in some Faraway day
I hope to emulate you in that very way

Speaking of fun
Faraway moves on the run
And fun comes from speaking to
Others not
Usually seen because
Of course it’s wrong
Even if it’s a right

Divine guidance could be sought
But never being far
From amusing thought
I ease along in
My simple way
Enough about me
Have a very Gary day
(including pie)

Jerry’s poetic pie reference, by the way, comes from my favorite treat on my birthday: to go to a certain local greasy spoon and eat cherry pie. But, oh, woe, not, this Covid year.

On another birthday thought, one of my favorite people in history, Harriet Tubman, was born on January 29. We owe a lot to her. So give her a happy birthday wish in your mind.

And to everyone, whenever your birthday: Carpe diem. Enjoy the day. Stay safe. Stay healthy. Stay calm. Stay happy. And happy birthday.