Happy Birthday to me!

Happy Birthday to me!
Happy Birthday to me!
Happy Birthday dear me-eee!
Happy Birthday to me!

Well, if I don’t do it, no one else will. As usual, I put this off to the last minute, but since there’s still 27 minutes left in my birthday I suppose it’s still valid. I admit that I still take a childish delight in celebrating my birthday, and today I had even better reason to celebrate than usual.

I’m 45 today, and it’s the best birthday I’ve had in years. I spent the day with my son, newly returned from Iraq. We went into Boston, had lunch at Smith & Wollensky’s (no relation, unfortunately) and walked around town in the brisk afternoon air. The sky was clear blue, the sun was bright; it was a glorious day. I found myself wondering what had become of the harum-scarum teenager I had so often quarreled with in the past. I was enjoying the company of this articulate, interesting young man. I felt like I was meeting him for the first time.

And then he pulled a fast one on me. He insisted we visit the pipe and cigar store where I work. He had taken it into his head that he was going to buy me a pipe for my birthday. I tried telling him that simply having home safe and sound and spending my birthday with him was enough. But you know the old saying about apples and trees, and he is at least as stubborn as I am.

And besides, I like getting new pipes.

We went into the shop, and he told me to pick one out. “Surprise me”, I said. So he did. Boy, did he surprise me. The pipe he picked out is pictured at the top of this post. It’s a Ferndown, a beautiful handmade pipe from England. I was totally blown away.

Life is full of irony. A year ago, he called me on my birthday from Indiana to tell me that he was shipping out to Iraq. Now, a year later, he arrived home the day before my birthday in time to spend it with me. Sometimes, once in a very great while, life plays fair.

I will cherish this pipe for the rest of my life, but I will cherish the memory of this day even more. My son is home.



11 Responses to “Happy Birthday to me!”

  1. 1 Red
    March 21, 2007 at 12:49 am

    Let me be the first to wish you a happy HAPPY birthday .. still 12 minutes of it left where I live. And 45, yes? Such a youngin’

    Awwwww, shucks!

    This entry was beautiful.

    Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed it.

  2. March 21, 2007 at 10:00 am

    You’re just a pup!
    Bon Fete, MoR.
    I’m not big on giving advise, but will provide a cautionary tale.
    The biggest mistake I ever made was not ever telling my Dad I loved him. He never said it to me either, eventhough there was a quiet understanding and respect, it wasn’t until he was gone that I wished I had at least said it once.
    /just sayin’

    Good advice. I suppose it’s a shame that it took the prospect of his being killed in a war for us to be able to say those words to each other, but I suppose is late is better than never.

  3. March 21, 2007 at 12:06 pm

    Happy belated Birthday Smith. I remembered it cause I saw an earlier announcement somewhere but since I wasn’t at work on Monday, I was mentally a day behind 😦 . I am happy that you had such an amazing day. I have a feeling it spilled over into other people’s lives……

    I hope so.

  4. 4 joebec
    March 21, 2007 at 7:43 pm

    hi smith!
    happy belated birthday… i am so glad you had such a wonderful day. some of us wish we could be so lucky… i am glad your son is home safe and sound too, what a blessing! have a good one!

    Thank you! Yes, it’s good to have him home.

  5. March 22, 2007 at 10:32 am

    I am glad your birthday was so happy!

    Thank you!

  6. March 22, 2007 at 5:08 pm

    Happy belated birthday, Smith. That’s a wonderful pipe too! I’ve been eyeing a few Ferndowns myself, lol. Glad you were able to have a wonderful day with your son back home.

    Something a little strange for ya…My dad shares the same birthday. Unfortunately, he hasn’t figured out that pipe smoking is more fun. 😉

    Thanks! Ferndowns are great pipes; I have about 6 or 8 of them. One of the best pipes coming out of England.

  7. 7 The Rev.
    March 22, 2007 at 11:38 pm

    So glad to hear that your son is home safely! What a great way to celebrate your birthday. Happy belated birthday adn nice Ferndown, Smitty.


    Hey, Rev! Thank for stopping by! Having him home was the best birthday present of all. The pipe was just a bonus!

  8. March 23, 2007 at 9:52 am

    I know so.

    You really are a remarkable person. 😉

  9. March 29, 2007 at 9:56 am

    Smith, I love birthdays…mine is December 28 and ususally gets overlooked! Happy “belated” birthday to you!! xoxo GolfGirl

    Thanks, and good to hear from you again!

  10. April 2, 2007 at 5:17 am

    bugger!! i missed your birthday!!! now i feel bad 😦
    happy birthday smith, albeit belated

    Thank you!

  11. June 8, 2007 at 8:06 pm

    Happy birthday, my friend,

    Great pipe, great son, and a great story. My dad’s a quite Irishman, he ain’t big on talking or emotion, he leaves both of those to my mother, but I guess sometimes he looks at me and he thinks, he ain’t turned out too bad. Hope so, hope the best for your son at such difficult times.

    “Sometimes, once in a very great while, life plays fair.”

    Great line too. We are blessed, but we need a little reminder now and then.

    PS. Blessed myself this week with a new petersons 105. That works too.

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taking up a glowing cinder with the tongs and lighting with it the long cherry-wood pipe which was wont to replace his clay when he was in a disputatious rather than a meditative mood" ~ Dr. John H. Watson ************************
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