Not that anybody asked, but I recently celebrated my 43rd birthday on August 15, which also happens to be the Feast of the Assumption of Mary. This makes it easy for me to remind all of my friends at Mass that my birthday is coming up.
“The Feast of the Assumption of Mary is coming up,” is what I will say.
“Yes,” is what my friend will reply.
“Yep, yep, yep. It’s a nice day to have a birthday on as well,” I will add.
“Oh yeah, it’s your birthday coming up. Well, Happy Birthday,” my friend will say.
It is so gratifying to have your friends remember your birthday.
Generally speaking, I do not like having a fuss made over me on my birthday. Unless you’re talking about my 40th birthday. I wanted a fuss made over me on my 40th birthday. I don’t know why, I just did. So when my 40th birthday came and went without a fuss, I was intensely bitter and told my wife as much. So you can imagine how small I felt when two days later, my wife totally snookered me with a surprise 40th birthday party. Smaller than that speck of dust that the Whos lived on in Horton Hears a Who.
But, for the most part, the only thing that I look forward to on my birthday is my birthday dinner. It is a tradition in our home for the birthday person to pick what he or she wants for dinner on his or her birthday. I usually opt for veal parmesan with a side dish of spaghetti, a Caesar salad, a fresh baguette, and a nice glass of wine. However, this year, we celebrated my birthday on the road as we were heading back home from our vacation at Walt Disney World in Florida. Consequently, instead of veal parmesan, we dined at a roadside Wendy’s near Jacksonville.
So, once we were safely back at home, my wife offered to fix me up my favorite birthday dinner. She went out and bought some veal which costs more per pound than a barrel of oil a head of romaine lettuce, and a fresh baguette.
Then, around noon, my middle son got a call from the lemonade people. Earlier in the summer, he got a job selling lemonade in one of those giant lemons that you see populating flea markets and local fairs. They needed him to hawk lemonade downtown at our region’s largest fair and could he come down right away and work until 9:00 p.m. So off he went.
Three hours later, my eldest son got a call from the McDonald’s people. Earlier in the year, he got a job at the golden arches. It seems they were short-staffed and could he pull an extra shift from 3:00 to 8:00 p.m. So off he went.
Another hour passed, and my youngest son got a call from one of his friends to invite him over for dinner and a sleepover. So off he went.
So there my wife and I were with about two barrels worth of veal, more than the two of us could reasonably consume in a single sitting. Now my wife’s birthday follows my birthday by less than two weeks on August 28, which, as far as I know, is not an important feast day. My wife usually asks for Chinese take out for her birthday dinner, so I figured why not treat her to her birthday dinner a bit early.
Thus, my veal parmesan birthday dinner became my wife’s Chinese take out birthday dinner. Not that I am bitter about this or anything. As I mentioned above, I learned my lesson about complaining bitterly to my wife on my 40th birthday and was not about to give a repeat performance. I am confident that my wife, bless her soul, will treat me to a fantastic birthday dinner sometime in the near future, maybe around the time of my 44th birthday.
Nick Burn is a freelance writer, husband, father of three, engineer, teacher, and is the principal behind the services of Statistics Courses. In his spare time (hah!), he enjoys camping, skiing and reading.