Happy birthday to David…the boy I first saw when I was thirteen and he was twelve. He stood at the top of the long wooden stairs that went from the first floor to the second floor of our junior high school in Maplewood, Missouri. He was a hall monitor. His job was to literally keep us pre-teens in line as we ascended or descended the stairs. He was funny and would tease me as I went by. He walked me home from school one day, but I was madly in love with someone else.
Happy Birthday to David…he smoked cigarettes, and sat on the stone wall that separated the high school property from that of the municipal swimming pool. He sat there with the “hoods.” He didn’t fit their profile of sleeked-back hair, T-shirts, and jeans. He wore button down shirts and khaki pants and he smoked. He teased me as I passed the wall on my way home from school.
Happy birthday to David…he sat across the aisle from me in our geometry class during our sophomore year in high school. He called me rabbi because someone had carved the Star of David on the wooden top of my school desk. One day, the boy who sat at the desk in front of me kept talking during class. The teacher warned him to be quiet, but he kept talking. Without warning the teacher hurled the chalk-board eraser at him. He ducked, and as I looked up, the eraser hit me square in the face leaving a cloud of dust all over me. The class laughed and David laughed. The teacher apologized. He probably would have been fired had he done that today.
Happy birthday to David…the boy who asked me to go on our first date to the ThurtenE Carnival at Washington University in April; we were seniors in high school. That day I had my ears pierced by a mid-wife, who had to have been at least eighty years old. She lived over a sausage factory on the “Hill,” the Italian community in St. Louis. The mid-wife deadened my ears with ice, and with a long darning needle and a piece of thin twine, pierced both ears with shaking hands. She tied off the twine and told me to move the twine through my ears so the holes wouldn’t heal over and to clean my ears with Fels Naptha soap. Ouch! Those were the days before one was able to get their ears pierced at the mall. Needless to say I wasn’t feeling very well that night, and tried to hide the twine behind my ears. True to form he teased me about the rope in my ears. He was such a good sport!
Happy birthday to David…the boy who didn’t ask me to the Senior Prom or graduation; I waited and waited. To this day I’ve never quite forgiven him.
Happy birthday to David…the young man who saved his money to buy a foreign car; he bought a diamond ring instead. He eventually bought a convertible Triumph Spitfire. It was a powder-blue beauty. He married me and became a father when he was twenty years of age. Two’s a party but three’s a crowd so the Triumph was sold.
Happy birthday to David…the young father who quit smoking in his twenties. Non-smoking ads were prevalent on TV. When our oldest son asked him to quit smoking he quit cold-turkey and has never smoked a cigarette since then. Cigars yes…cigarettes no. Talk about willpower.
Happy birthday to David…the father who never missed a game, scouting event, concert for his boys. He was a tough disciplinarian, but a rock. He is the husband, father, and grandfather who has been a steady force in our lives. He is the boy who had perfect attendance all through his school years and never missed a day of work until he had knee surgery in his late fifty’s. You can’t ask for a better role model for a boy.
Happy birthday to David…the man who celebrates his birthday on Veterans Day. He got off on his birthday every year because it is a national holiday. No fair. My birthday is on Cinco de Mayo but I never got off on my birthday.
Happy birthday to David…the man I’ve known for fifty-five years and with whom I’ve lived the last forty-eight years. He still teases me, amuses me, and drives me crazy sometimes, well much of the time. We’ve weathered good times and bad, but mostly good.
As Cesare Pavese said, “We do not remember days, we remember our moments.” Happy Birthday Dave, we’ve had a lot of good moments. I pray we have many more.