My entire family treated me to the best birthday of my life in October. It was number 50, but because of everything that’s happened this year it meant far more to me than just a round number. We went to cabins in the Missouri Ozarks (where my family used to vacation when I was a child) and just enjoyed being together for four glorious peak-of-Autumn days. All of my siblings and their families came from all over the country: Kathleen and her husband Richie from Las Vegas; Tim and his wife Julie from St. Louis; Brian, his wife Sue and their kids Timothy, Julia and Elizabeth from Philadelphia; Ellen and her partner Stacy from Los Angeles. Meanwhile, my lifelong buddy Dave Noland drove down from Kansas City to surprise me…and my friends Paul and Debbie Conklin drove to St. Louis on the last day of the trip to meet up with us, carve up Halloween pumpkins and watch the World Series on TV. You’ll see all of their pictures in this video, along with a few vintage photos from my childhood vacations in the very same locale.
The thing I loved best about my birthday: My family made a complete mockery of that stupid “Birthday Song” — which only has only six words. The six words are as follows: “Happy,” “Birthday,” “To,” and “You” repeated endlessly, followed by “Dear,” and “[Whatever Your Name Is]” in the final verse. Just six words. What a dumb song. Why do people sing that song to each other? What does it even mean?
Anyway, they sang it to me every hour on the hour. It was pretty funny.
But on the morning of my birthday, my family all gathered around and sang a REAL birthday song to me. The best birthday song I’ve ever heard. It’s the music that you’ll hear in the accompanying video. And they sang the whole thing, each and every verse, each and every word (way more six). Singing this particular song in this particular situation was my sister-in-law Julie’s idea. She even brought the CD, and cranked it up on the only audio equipment available — a retro alarm clock CD player in one of the rustic cabins. Thanks Julie. I love you, and will never forget what you did, even though you made me cry. Just to get back at you, I put it in a video slideshow that will make you cry.