And it will be a really, really good day.
When pressed to think of memorable birthdays past, a few come to mind.
- In 1972, we celebrated my golden birthday a day early on Sunday, December 10th. I remember the Vikings played the Packers and because the game was not a sellout, they blacked the game out in the Twin Cities. My mom and stepfather knew I was a big Viking fan and made it special by taking me across the border into Hudson, Wisconsin where the game was being shown. As I recall, even there the screen was fuzzy and snowy because, well, TV wasn't what it is today. I drank soda and ate beer nuts and well, the Vikings didn't get the memo and lost to the Packers 23 - 7. It was a good day nonetheless.
- I don't recall much about my 16th "sweet 16" birthday. I'm not sure it was much of a thing back then - maybe so.
- One of the best birthdays on record was my 30th. I was back home visiting with Donna because Mom wanted to take me out for dinner. Leading up to dinner, I sensed something was up because the phone kept ringing - more than usual, anyway. By the time dinner was done, I had kind of forgotten all the suspicion, and when I walked into Mom's house on Larpenteur, there were probably 40-50 friends and family, Surprise! It was so great talking to everyone and having some laughs. My brother Rob kept pulling me into the laundry room for secret shots of Yukon Jack - a Boundary Waters traditional spirit. Before the night finished out, I was telling my wife and Mom how to hunt Snipe at night using a burlap bag. That might be the Yukon talking, there. In any case my 30th was harder for me than 40 or 50. It was then that I realized I'd never play in the NFL (not that I could have at 25 either), and that I was leaving my youth behind.
- For my 40th birthday, my wife did something kind of cool. She told people to send cards, stories and pictures of me. It was fun reading some of the things people remembered.
- My 50th was a small affair, just how I'd asked for it. We spent it with a handful of good friends. with dinner at our house and a few beverages. The best part about it though was the surprise of a significant chunk of money toward my purchase of a fishing Kayak. I have my wife to thank for making that happen. It has been the source of so much fun for me that it's hard to imagine life without it.
In between each of these were the "average" birthdays, filled with chocolate covered angel food cake (a favorite), treats at work and hand made cards from the kids. All good.
And so, as I was standing in front of the bathroom mirror today with an ice pack strapped to my elbow (tendinitis), swabbing my eyes for my blepharitis (eye condition) and my face for my rosacea, and remembering that Thursday I get my hearing aids, I took stock and thought, this must be what 55 looks like.
Well, at least I've got my health.