Monday, June 29, 2009

One of my birthdays I turned 60

I celebrate three birthdays. On one of them I turned 60 years old this year.

When I was in the care of my father, he told me that my birthday was June 22, 1949. So, those that he paid to care for me arranged birthday parties and other activities celebrating June 22nd as the year of my birth.

When I visited my mother she told me that my birthday was June 29, 1949. She described how I was born on a sofa in the living room of a house at 119 S. 20th Street in the early morning hours of June 29th. She said my father didn’t know what the date was because he wasn’t there when it all happened. Dr. M.J. Foster came to the house and delivered me right there in the living room.

Years later I saw my birth certificate which indicated June 28, 1949 as my birthdate. It was signed by my mother and, of course, Dr. Foster. That means that on every official record my birthday is listed as June 28th.

When I was around my father it was June 22nd and when I was around my mother it was June 29th.

I asked my mother why would she signed a birth certificate with the wrong birthdate on it and she said, “I was hurting. I saw it had the wrong date but I was hurting so bad I just signed it.” She told me to take her word for it, it was June 29th.

As a result I have three birthdays. One of them is the real one.

I'm going to enjoy the 60's. It will be a lot of fun.

I would have enjoyed the other 59 years even more had I known then what I know now.

I would have learned more in school and pursued a higher degree than I obtained.

I would have managed my money and resources better.

I would have spent less time trying to save the world and more with those closer to me.

Those things aside, its been a ball.

I’m generally a healthy person. I take one pill that Dr. Claude Minor insists I take to control my blood pressure.

I don’t have any real worries of my own; most of my worries are about other people. (I’m still trying to save the world and every lost child, I guess).

I can’t wait to see what the 60’s will be.

I look forward to the discounts, AARP, and special treatment that folks in the 60’s get. (I will love to be eligible for Medicare instead of this $755 a month I pay for health care.)


So, on one of these days: June 22, 28, or 29th I turned 60.

"This is the day the Lord has made, I will be rejoice and be glade in it."

Sunday, June 21, 2009

"This Little Piggie" and a tickle

The more time we spend around our fathers, the more we know about them and in some ways we emulate them.

As a child I never spent more than a week under the same roof with my father, but there were several men from whom I drew inspiration, guidance and nurture.

My father didn't know much about being a father; I suppose he tried. After he and my mother divorced in 1951 he had the task or raising a two year old boy. He had to be a father, without much instruction.

He compensated by paying a variety of people to keep me in their homes during the fall, winter and spring, and sent me to live with his mother in the summer. From time to time I hung out around his cab stand and watched the drivers come and go.

Mostly, I hung around, stayed out of the way and watched. It's what I watched that I learned and remember most from him.

I watched him wear a tie as he drove his cab. I later grew up with a respect for men who wear ties.

I watched him reach for his glasses so he could read; I do the same.

I watched buy two way radios and electric gadgets for his business; I still keep up with the latest technology in my own business.

I watched him read the newspaper from front to back. I later grew up reading the newspaper daily, then owning one.

I watched him save his money, pay his bills and pay others. I later grew up saving my money, too and paying others.

I watched him buy a dinner, eat half of it and save the other half for the next day. Believe or not, I often do the same.

I watched him buy Ford automobiles. I do the same.

I watched his attraction to high yellow women; he married two and had two children by another one, but one died.. I married only one, had four children by her, but one died.

I watched him attend church on occasion. I became a preacher.

I watched him become an old man, now I'm the age that I considered him old.

He never rode me on his back and played horsie. He rarely had time to do foolish, father things with me. We never went on trips, had vacations or rolled around on the floor in fun. We rarely laughed together.

I mostly watched, then learned most everything else from the other fathers he paid to care for me.

I remember what they taught me but there are two pictures that loom in my mind. They overshadowed the memory of all the other surrogate fathers I have had.

I remember him playing, "This little piggie with my toes" and tickling me in the side to make me laugh. I remember those two things. They have been amplified to be more fun in my memory than they probably were, but I remember them.

I have his sense of independence, business acumen, and tendency toward frugality.

I look like him, so do two of his grandsons and one of his great grandsons. Some of them have some of his traits, too.

I don't know what my own sons will remember about me, you never know what lingers in the mind. I have never asked.

Every Father's Day I don't think about what my father did not do for me or labor on what it might have been had I been a better son and he a better father.

What I choose to remember is, "This little Piggie" and the tickle in my side. The other memories will fade in time.

He never knew how to be a father. I never knew how to be a son.

His grandsons and great-grandchildren should be proud of him. Whatever he was, he now lives in them.

It probably wasn't important to them, and may have been forgotten, but when all three of them were very small, I played "This little piggie on their toes" and tickled them in the sides, hoping they would have at least two fond memories of my feeble attempt at fatherhood