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So, it’s your birthday

Birthdays are funny things, celebrated by some, cursed or despised by others, simply because you add another year to your life.

Some people make a point of celebrating their birthday, or that of relatives or close friends in grand fashion, while others simply want it to go away.

As someone who has spent a little over 57 years on this planet as of Sunday, birthdays have become just another day to me.

The main reason for that is my closest relative, my brother, lives in Anchorage, and we communicate only by email or cell phone on most occasions.

My cat, Whiskers, could care less how old I am, as long as I keep a steady supply of cat food and cat treats on hand to satisfy what seems to be a ravenous appetite.

When I was growing up, birthdays were a joyous occasion, as evidenced by the number of photos taken by my mother with her trusty brownie box camera (you know, the ones with film in them).

My brother, born in April, and myself would look forward to our birthdays for obvious reasons, including presents and of course a birthday cake festooned with candles.

The dessert of choice for yours truly was always a fresh-baked chocolate cake, at least three layers with the icing still warm to the touch.

My brother usually opted for a coconut cake, again three layers and again fresh-baked, and I do recall my tastes varied as I got older toward things such as caramel cake (my favorite at Christmas).

My father became a dad at a later age and perhaps enjoyed our birthday celebrations as much as his boys.

I still have a number of pictures of him posing with my brother and myself during various birthdays, with the candles on the cake lit and with a broad, proud smile lighting up his face.

Sometimes the neighborhood children were invited over to share in the celebration, but the blowing out of the candles was reserved for my brother and me.

I’ve attended my fair share of birthday parties, one in particular a favorite as I traveled to Scottsburg for a friend’s birthday party.

Remember the house along the railroad tracks as you enter town?

A group of about 10 boys attended, and the party became an all-day affair, complete with a modest game of football and a full-scale version of “Army,” with a number of miniature Pattons fanning out into the woods surrounding the house and taking up positions.

A dilapidated shed became my field headquarters, good for cover and observation of the oncoming enemy.

I don’t recall who won the “war,” but both sides retreated when their parents came to pick them up.

Birthday celebrations of the type my brother and I experienced were mostly limited to us, as my parents were more in tune with the toned-down version, perhaps a small gift and a peck on the cheek to acknowledge the day.

Those were good times, and it’s a shame I’m all grown up now, and – don’t laugh – I still try and pay extra attention to the newspaper and sneak a peek at my horoscope every birthday.

Being a year older and a year wiser is not so bad after all.