Sunday, June 21, 2009

Ode to Me

I have now completed three score and one years on this planet, and it occurred to me when I awoke that for some reason being 61-years-old seems much older than 60. I told Shirl this morning that turning 60 just kind of seemed like I was ending my 50s, but turning 61 felt like I was well and truly on the road to senior citizenship.

Shirl is a year or two older than me and basically told me she had called me up in a good mood to wish me happy birthday and if I was going to talk like that I could get stuffed. I think I need to keep some things to myself.

Anyhow, straddling the International Dateline means that my birthday lasts about 40 hours and I got what I believe will be my final birthday wish this year at 5pm on the next day when Tom called from San Antonio, where he had stopped as he drove across the US to San Diego.

It was 33 hours earlier that I got my first birthday wish when the phone rang and the world's most wonderful girl sang Happy Birthday to me. I must remember to change the will and leave everything to Lily.

I then got happy wishes from my wife, my ex-wife, all four sons, my sister-in-law and her family, my concubine (that's an in-joke between Shirl, LK and me), and some other friends. Wow. I may be feeling older, but I am also feeling great.

And, oh yes, I also had good wishes from my mother - who in a totally fair world is the one who should be getting the kudos for doing all the hard work on this day in history in 1948.

But if my b'day started out great with Lily singing to me, the most fun happened when I checked my email just before I went to bed. There in my inbox was a poem from my Dad. I am going to share it with you, but I need to explain one of its references.

For you see, Red - my father - had 61 years worth of things to choose to write about, and he chose to wax lyrical about a day when I was very young and went on a ferris wheel with my Uncle Don (whom I was named after, of course). Somewhere near the top of the ferris wheel my bladder gave out, and the cascading waterfall has remained part of family lore for - well, for nearly 60 years.

And the fact that my Dad chose to write a poem about it for my birthday probably goes a long way to explaining me, too. Anyhow, here's the poem - and thanks to all of you for making this a special weekend for me.

An ode to Don

Many years have come and gone
in fact sixty one for our boy Don
This is just a little ode to a wonderful lad
who made his folks both proud and glad
When Don was at a very young age
he and uncle Don climbed into a ferris wheel cage
when they reached the top the wheel made a stop
and Don unable to control his kidneys let go with a plop
I have so many stories of this wonderful guy
Whose generosity reaches to the sky
He has never forgotten his old mom and dad
So happy 61st to a wonderful lad.

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