“Happy Birthday to me, I’m older you see,
“But there are still some things I don’t know,
“Like why does it take a birthday
“To make us realize how little we’ve grown!”
— Rod McKuen
Oct. 17 was my birthday. A grand day with the temperature in the 70s; the autumn tinge in the air gave reason to think twice before going back for a sweater.
Sparrows flock to their feeder, scarfing down every morsel before they begin their flight to worlds only they know. One day they disappear, to return some coming-of-spring morning when the world is dark winter.
But listen to me, hurrying the seasons like I have somewhere to go! My friends and students were the stars this birthday. I have often said my crowning glory was the wonderful day I became a teacher. All the rest was just icing on the cake.
More than 500 people wished me a happy birthday on Facebook: many old friends, but more former students.
The students were specific. For example, Gina Adams suggested that for my birthday I should “kick back and have a glass of dandelion wine.” Johnny Williams wrote that, “‘We Have Always Lived in the Castle’ was by far the best book we ever read.’’
It’s funny what you remember. I thank you so very much for lending me your children for a short time; those were my days of endless summer.
October birthdays are everywhere! Happy Birthday to Gail Keeling Smith, Allan Hudson, Margaret Fails, Bill Riddle, Glenda Ashley, Diana Teague, Patty Swinford, Lisa Croft, Paige Pollock, David Wheeler, Jeff Roper, Lura Atchley, Michelle Patterson and there are more! Robert and Maria Eagly celebrated their 15th wedding anniversary last week. Kenny and Cyndi Nelson have had 22 years of “lovin’ each other”; don’t be smug, Kenny, she makes everyone’s day!
This was my book birthday, too. From Julie Payne came the winsome “The Last of the Girls”; it fit my end-of-summer mood. Then I found “Driving Mrs. Norma”; it’s a beautiful end-of-life adventure that is poignant and totally uplifting.
“The Nightingale” by Kristen Hannah is on the same theme as everything else I’ve seen lately, Hitler’s takeover of Europe. But I’ve only read about a hundred pages; maybe this time Hitler will be vanquished early on and the war will be over.
Just how have I grown in the last year? I might appear to have regressed. I can walk, but haltingly. I am softer somehow — cry easier, wish that the world would be a little kinder to every creature.
The day of the stroke, I was coming down the stairs with my coffee. I could feel my feet barely touch the stair; someone whispered “a stroke.” Someone told me to lean into the chair, find my Life Alert and push the button, the rest would be left in the fire medics’ hands.
Because after I saw Tony Calvert — a former student, now my rescuer — smiling at me, I know Who told me so. It would really be all right, ‘round town!
Glenda Byars is a correspondent for The Gadsden Times. Send submissions to email@example.com.