Archive for the 'My Birthday' Category


Thank you everyone!

I just want to thank everyone for the wonderful outpouring of support and good will that has been shown towards my son.  I am genuinely overwhelmed by the kindness everyone has shown him here.

In the short time I have been posting on WordPress, I feel like I have made some new friends, in the truest sense of the word, even though I have never met them in person (with the exception of Smoke & Mirror’s Michael Murphy–I have to look at his ugly mug every day.)  😉  I look forward to the kind words that await me whenever I toss something up here, and it’s interesting how each person’s personality comes through even in this somewhat impersonal medium (a tribute to their skill with words).

I cannot help but think how this country has learned at least one lesson from Vietnam.  I have some friends who are Vietnam vets who tell me some real horror stories about how they were treated when they returned.  More than one has told me how that were actually spit upon by those who opposed the war.  Irrespective of how one may feel about the Vietnam war, this country’s treatment of its veterans represents a shameful chapter in this nation’s history.

At least now people have learned to treat the veterans with the respect they have earned, regardless of their views on this war.  When I was picking my son up at the airport, more than one person would come up to him and shake his hand.  I don’t think I have ever been prouder of him than I was at that moment.

So to all who were kind enough to leave comments, my sincerest and most heartfelt thank you to you all.



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.



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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