Happy Birthday to You

Posted by Danny

As a kid I hated birthday parties.  Not mine – only the ones for others.

There was just something about them – one, my mom didn’t go with me.  Two, there were often people there I did not know.  I used to be pretty intimidated around strangers.

The boy across the street was a good guy.  He spent nearly the entire summer at our house – arriving before breakfast and leaving at dusk when my mother shooed him away.  His parents were older – his father owned a funeral home.  That, that in and of itself freaked me out.

In addition, his father had one leg.  As a child, I found that perplexing and bothersome. 

I was scared to death to go to my neighbor’s birthday party.  My friend loved red velvet cake – something in my mind combined the missing leg with the funeral home, blood and that cake.  I get the heebie geebies just thinking about it today.

At another birthday party near Halloween, I dressed up like Dracula.  The white makeup ran down my fake fangs as I cried my eyes out until my mom picked me up.  If I think about it hard, I can sort of taste the bitter flavor of K Mart face paint.

I don’t guess that I hate birthdays anymore.  I sort of enjoy eating cake and celebrating my friends and family.

We found out Lisa was sick about five months after her 39th birthday.  When I turned 40, she threw me a huge party – bar-b- q and a man playing a guitar in the backyard.  A couple hundred folks came out to wish me well.  I’d asked her if she wanted a party for her 40th.  “Nah.  What I’d really like is to take a trip with just you.”

That trip never came – she died a month before she would have turned forty.

And so today, on what would have been her 42nd birthday, I’ll remember the ones we had, and I’ll dream about the ones we didn’t.

Leave a comment


  1. Helen

     /  April 18, 2012

    Love and hugs to you and your beautiful family.

  2. I hope that her birthday can offer you a day to sit back and remember the years of fun and happiness that you shared together. The birthdays of the past.
    My birthday always inspires me to love the people in my life extra hard. A reminder of time passing, I guess.

  3. Aunt Susan

     /  April 18, 2012

    Some how I knew you would remember her birthday. I still don’t celebrate mine! So now just have some blow out parties for the girls, just like she would have done.
    thinking of you.


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