Sunday, January 26, 2014

Ode to a Bestest 54th Birthday Ever

Andre Milteer 01/24/14
This year, I celebrated my 54th birthday [thank you thank you]. The actual date was Friday, January 24th.  As anti-climatic as it could have been, it was actually my bestest ever. I've come to really appreciate birthdays --- my own as well as that of others. Facebook deserves HUGE praise for alerting me to the birth dates of my FB friends as they occur.

Fifty-four is nice because I'm not yet 55; but also not 18-25. Looking back to bithday age pasts, 37 was my coolest year. That was the year in which I completed 20 years of military service. Also, I completed my graduate studies (psychology) that same said year [1997]. The biggest accomplishment -- or realization,  is that I no longer have to figure everything out. No longer do I have to be a know it all...I simply have to exist. In other words, I just need to enjoy this human experience that my spirit and soul is manifesting.

My friends and family presented truly wonderful gifts to me. Perhaps that know, as do I, that giving feels so good. ALMOST as good as it does to receive. A few of my LinkedIn connections took a moment to e-message warm birthday regards [thanks Dennis, S. / Christopher, G / and Diane, F.] Many FB friends reached out [thanks Brandon, M., Tony, L., Gavi, H., Michelle, E. & Marian, B.] and good friends from my hometown sent wishful emails [thanks Lynn & PFR].

At the end of the day, we all only have this moment; the luckiest of us have family. For better or worse, family is the thread that weaves us into the fabric of the universe. My brother-in-law (Misha) wished me happy birthday via FB (although I completely forgot about his birthday two days prior {es tut mir leid, bruder}. My dear and sweet sister-in-law (Hilda) called me to wish a very warm birthday. Hilda's warm wishes were incredible given that she was enduring a NJ winter of INCHES of snow + FREEZING temperatures compared to a warmer Texas climate @my home.

I worked on my birthday. Drove 45 miles over icy backroads to get to the job. No one at work knew (or cared) about Andre's special 54th birthday. No big deal...wait, I Lie! I made sure to tell enough employees -- they were blown away that I'm 54. The average age at my workplace is 27; how can they even began to process my age. Many were Blown Away! that I had Lived to be 54.



While @work, one of my sons (Marcello) called...it went to unanswered. I knew why he called, so I text responded affirmatively. Around 2pm, my spouse (Barbara) called (voicemail) to say that an outside pipe had burst -- water GUSHING everywhere! Not able to leave work until 4pm, I called my BRO (Danny) for help. Dan is like a brother to me... he went over and shut off the water main. On birthday night, I spent three hours mending a broken lawn sprinkler pipe in 35 degree cold weather.

Many of my old Army Band alumni congratulated me via FB [thanks Debi, Tony, Eric, Levi, Bix, et als]. Speaking of bands, my sons (Marcello and Maurice) gave me some great music CDs. Ever heard of jazz composer/pianist, Amina Figarova? Neither had I...the music was totally groovy. Maurice's Big Band CD compilation was education. Track one featured the Count Basie Orchestra performing Ain't Misbehavin. The selection started with an organ intro. Sweet!


My niece (Mavis) text messaged a digital wallpaper snapshot on my Nokia Lumina phone. The message: Let the Rays of your Smile lead your path today. [how awesome] Another cool text message was a video received from [future] daughter-in-law (Sheena). Embedded into the phone message was a private home video featuring her 2 y/o daughter (KZ, aka -My Granddaughter). KZ acappella-sang, Happy Birthday (ala Marylyn Monroe style) **Precious**  My wife (Barbara) gave me an [authorized] blu-ray copy of Oprah Winfrey's, The Butler (starring Forest Whitaker). I really wanted to see this film and this was a selfless act of giving from my wife [she is NOT a member of the O/W fan club].

Perhaps my greatest gift was from my deceased maternal grandfather (Fred, W.). Facing the challenge of a busted and frozen water pipe coupled with a potentially expensive plumbing bill, Fred (as I affectionately called him) taught me the tenets of tradesman repair. Roofing, electrical, masonry, horticulture, carpentry, and also -- plumbing. I put my Granddad's training to use on birthday night. My dinner was a pre-ordered Papa John's pizza and wings.

How will you celebrate your birthday...what do birthdays mean to you? For all that gave to me this year, I say thank you. And of course, by participating in my birthday, you too brought a sliver of 'Rays of Your Smile' into your own life as well. 

1 comment:

sheena savage said...

Beautiful!

I will offer an abstract optimistic view to the busted pipe in light of looking at the glass half full - see it as an impromptu celebratory burst of excitement? A symbolic gush to remind you of the fountain of youth?

Yeah, that works :)

Happy birthday!