‘You Say It’s Your Birthday . . .’

Well, in direct contradiction to the headline on this post, my long-time friend Rick did not tell me that today is his birthday. He didn’t need to. For most of the past fifty-six-plus years, I’ve known that February 6 is his birthday. He turns sixty today. (And Babe Ruth would have been 119; during our younger years, Rick made sure we all knew that he shared a birthday with the Greatest Of All Time, and Babe Ruth was certainly that.)

I sent an email off a few moments ago, wishing the Kiddie Corner Kid – as he’s styled himself when he comments here – a happy birthday, and I gave him a brief preview of what it’s like to be sixty: “Strained right elbow and wrist ligaments and a touchy right hamstring and quad. Of course, your mileage may vary. But it’s not all bad: You’ll qualify for more senior discounts.”

He, of course, is left-handed, so if there are complaints from any of his ligaments and muscles as they enter their seventh decade of use, those complaints are likely to come from the left. (There’s a political joke hanging there, just as there is an open spot for a reference to “sinister” as the Latin word for “left,” but we’ll leave both of those alone this morning.) One of my enduring memories from childhood comes from those times when Rick would be at our house for a meal; I would have to change from my regular spot at the kitchen table, shifting one spot to the right with Rick on my left so we would not bang elbows as we ate.

We were once nearly a daily presence in each other’s lives. These days, we see each other two or three times a year, but those two or three occasions are built on the foundation of nearly sixty years of friendship. As I told Rick in my email: “I’ve known you longer than anyone other than my family. (As least I think so; I’m not entirely sure if it was you or Rob in the lead coming across Kilian Boulevard on your tricycles on that spring day in 1957. If you were in the lead, and I think you were, then you have a two-second edge on him.) And our friendship is one of the cherished portions of my life.”

So for the Kiddie Corner Kid (and for the Babe as well), here’s “Birthday” by the Swingle Singers from their 2002 album, Ticket To Ride: A Beatles Tribute.

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