Last Sunday, at about seven in the morning, I turned fifty-four.
My birthday has always been easy to ignore. Located midway between Christmas and the New Year, I was convinced that my parents sent me a card, if only out of guilt. Some families, indeed some cultures, make a big do-to out of birthdays. My family never really did, except for maybe the big ones -- you know, turning, forty, or fifty, and so on.
But this time, a few choristers greeted me outside of Mass, after the procession came out and sang Happy Birthday. One of the priests was singing along in Latin. That evening, Sal and her brothers and sister-in-law took me to the best steak house in Arlington, where I ordered the biggest one on the menu. That's right, the 23-ounce "Cowboy Cut." I hardly ate a thing all day Monday.
I also got a lot of e-mail greetings. The internet makes it easy to be reminded of people's birthdays. But the internet has been around for awhile, and this year, enough people got around to putting me on their lists. Especially the folks at Team Sarah. I also got a shout from Dom Bettinelli, who thinks people might mistake me for the Welsh actor John Rhys-Davies (pictured at right). That's a new one.
All in all, it's been a pretty good year. Next year I have a birthday with a five on the end of it. Somebody told me I'd start qualifying for senior discounts. I could learn to live with that. I'm also carrying over at least four weeks of annual leave into next year, and I'm thinking of doing some traveling. I keep hearing Seattle calling me back. I certainly did that night, literally, when my aunt called from there.
Maybe, just maybe...