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Another birthday comes to pass

December 7, 2012 - Michael Palmer
Tomorrow is my birthday. Growing up in a poor family, having a birthday around Christmas is not a good idea. Mine was December 8 and my sister January 21, so we both had to share that day's financial burden with the holiday present buying.

I can not say it has never been about the gifts for me, I was a typical kid, wanted the bike, the remote control airplane, but financially my parents just could not afford to spend that kind of money. My mother really did a great job of stretching our dollars and made each of us feel special on our birthday.

I am not sure if I was just totally unpopular or if it was because we were poor, but aside from a few cousins on occasion, it was just family on those special days. That had to be hard on my mother, because women are social animals - speaking in sweeping generalizations.

I know with my son coming with his significant other in one week and my wife's family having their annual Christmas get-together tomorrow, it will not be a day set aside to celebrate my birth. In fact, with all the stress and holiday spending, it would be just fine with me if we skip it.

One of my favorite birthday memories was when we were really scraping bottom, I had been unemployed and with three young children at the time, we had nothing left to spend on necessities, let alone presents for me.

My wife managed to squirrel away enough cash to buy me a little red plastic tool box and there was a cake. I got homemade cards from the kids, one of which we keep to this day.

It was made by my son and depicted in graphic detail the Lake Erie Walleye fishing trip we had been invited on that summer. I can get sea sick in a bath tub so you can guess what the card displayed my character doing as they were clinging to the rail of the boat.

Those were good times.

Perhaps it is best that no one makes a big fuss over any of my birthdays. There were plans to have a big 40th birthday bash and it never came to pass because my wife's dear sister passed away on Dec. 4 that year. It happened just hours before she and my wife had planned to go shopping for the traditional black decorations.

Then two years ago my mother-in-law passed on that same day. Ever since the days before my birthday are somber ones and very emotional times for my wife.

With the grandchildren at home with us, we might just have to have a cake. I am sure they will enjoy getting a piece with lots of frosting.

I usually do not get on facebook except on weekdays, but tomorrow I might just have to log in to thank those who take the time to post birthday wishes.

I have drywall to finish and at least 100 other projects on my weekend list, so regardless of what else transpires - I know I will not be bored.


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