Carolyn’s Online Magazine (#COMe)
IT’S MY BIRTHDAY:
A MEDAL, A CONCERT,
A PITTSBURGH PENGUINS STANLEY CUP GAME
June 12, 2016, dawned exactly—-well, almost exactly—a perfect early summer day. The rain remained distant, the sun shone in a white-clouded blue sky, the breezes cooled the high temperature (I never did look at the thermometer, but the sun, when the breezes stopped, felt hot enough to cause a deep sunburn.
I say almost perfect because strong gusts wafted and made the newspapers my husband and I were reading fold over, hiding the content (perhaps a good thing). Newspapers read or waiting to be read had to be chased across the patio when the breeze was especially strong.
This day is special. My husband is observing a birthday not everyone has the opportunity or cause to celebrate.
When he returned home from church we settled on the patio to enjoy the Sunday newspaper. The day went peacefully before 2:15 p. m. I did some much needed weeding—the sun, breeze, and moist soil made it easy to pull many foot-long roots. Monte watched some sports game while enjoying a midday snooze.
Sandy posted a Happy Birthday wish to Monte on FaceBook. I posted pictures of his original birth day, several other childhood photos, and a shot I’d taken just yesterday.
At 2:15 p.m. I went to the nearby Pie Shop in Laughlintown. I chose a white cake with white icing. We’d planned a simple celebration with my daughter Sandy, her husband Michael, and our friend Lois.
I playfully hung a gold-ribboned medal around his neck. It proclaimed It’s my birthday.
After lighting the candles I called everyone inside. A birthday crown on his head, Monte playfully blew out his candles relighting one that had extinguished. We enjoyed the cake and the ice cream Monte had picked up at the grocery store en route home from church.
The evening was perfect for the summer concert in Ligonier. The Jeannette Community Band was playing their 25th concert on the Diamond. Their first selection was the first music piece they played in the original concert: The National Emblem. They dedicated their next piece, Olympic Fanfare, to the Pittsburgh Penguins, a team playing a championship game later in the evening.
While playing Salvation, the last piece of Christian music written before Russia banned that genre, I detected an extra instrument. It was not quite in tune with the rest of the orchestra. I looked around and found the source—a bird on top of a building.
The band played a medley from Jesus Christ, Super Star, which had their first performance at the Civic Arena in Pittsburgh in 1971.
During intermission a band member approached Monte. The conversation went similar to this:
- “I noticed your medal. Is it from the Senior Olympics?
- “No, it’s my birthday.”
- “Happy birthday.”
Intermission over, the band played several pieces, including a Beatles medley. Monte leaned over to me and said Life is such an easy game to play. He’d often sung that while our children were growing up.
The band played their traditional salute to the armed forces.
Well—not quite the finale. After the bows the clarinet player who’d asked Monte about his “medal” stood up and played a Happy Birthday solo. Monte was delighted. I was asked if I instigated it.
Monte and I arrived home in time for the Penguins championship game. As I type this yells came from the family room. “It’s icing” “It’s over.” Yes, the Penguins won the Stanley Cup.
NOTE: Below is Monte’s perspective on his birthday, made in a comment the next morning on the Upper Room—a United Methodist Devotional site:
Birthdays are a time to be playful, to rejoice, to have fun, to do things the celebrant enjoys. This can be accomplished with quietude or grand celebrations. Either way, birthdays are landmarks in life by which we can measure our successes, failures, and progress.
So I wish my husband a playful Happy Birthday, with many more to come.