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1.19.2011

Born Under A Strange Sign

"Hello?"
"It was a bitter cold, cold January night a long time ago-"
"Hi, Ma." Time for the birth day story.
"You were almost born in the back seat of an Edsel..."
For those who don't remember, the Ford Edsel has the distinction of being the icon in the car industry for being the biggest flop ever. The word Edsel means failure or loser, so I wear my birthday encounter with humility and honor.
"It was 3 am and the car wouldn't start it was so cold." she continued fondly. "I remember Sinatra was singing 'The Road To Mandalay' on the radio."
This is an annual birthday recitation. "Ah, yes!," I inquire, "How is Old Blue Eyes doing these days?"
"Dead."
"Not so good, then."
"I'd have to say he's been better," she agreed.
"Don't tell me my dear father was dumb enough to buy an Edsel?" I asked.
"Your father was many things. Stupid wasn't one of them," she scolded kindly. "it was the stupid neighbor's car."
And so it always goes.


A couple of weeks ago I heard another birthday story that was lots of fun, too: Tio's. I was there the day he was born but a few hours after the fact. When Tio and I saw Marcia, his mom, the other day, she told this tale.

"You were the easiest of the three," she said to him. I could see how pleased he was to hear this because it really helped hit home that this really was his mom he was with after so many years apart. "I was doing something around the apartment and your father was still sleeping. My water broke all of a sudden all over the floor - splash! Buddy sits bolt upright in bed and yells out 'who's throwing water balloons in the house!' then goes right back to sleep."

Tio laughed. We all laughed. That's Buddy all the way. He's been yelling at the kids that way ever since. Make some noise -- ignore the consequence.

"I'm having your kid, I said, and we better get to the hospital. Well...he jumped up and ran out and drove a hundred and twenty miles an hour to the hospital. 'slow down, we have some time and I don't want to get killed on the way there'. Ir turned out a good thing we went fast because you nearly popped out in hospital waiting room while he was checking us in."

Birth is such an amazing thing that I imagine we all arrive under peculiar circumstances.