Birthday Season is in full swing

By TIM BEELAND,

We call it Birthday Season at our house. Birthday Season begins on the second day of January and concludes on the second day of February. It’s a month-long celebration that recognizes the day of birth for a number of folks we call family and friends and, of course, the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley.

Two super-close friends for the majority of my ever-lengthening life, David Willis and Robert Marler, have already celebrated the turn of another year in their life’s calendar this month as has the King.

An even closer friend, one I’ve know for my entire life, turned 87 on Tuesday. We call him Dad, or Paw, or Joe. He is my dad, to my daughter he is Paw, and his nickname is Joe. His real name is Harmon Drexil, but no one knows him by that. I have always joked that if your name was Harmon Drexil you’d probably change it to Joe too, when asked where “Joe” comes from. If you ask my dad where the Joe came from, he doesn’t remember either so we’ll just stick with my story.

Joe and I have been celebrating birthdays together for 59 years come this Saturday when I’ll begin the last year of my fifties. That’s that ever-lengthening life referred to in paragraph two above.

A week from Saturday, the other Jo in our family, “Little Jo,” or Rachel-Johanna, her given name, will be turning 27. She and  dad are almost exactly 60 years apart in age, and enjoy an inseparable bond.

Sunday afternoon, Big Joe, Little Jo and plain “old” Tim, me, gathered at Dad’s house in Newton, which I dubbed Stennis Street Fish Shack on social media a couple of years ago. I figure if you are going to dabble with the Facebook you might as well make it interesting, confusing, and plain ole worrisome for some, by making up names of places that don’t really exist. Kind of like fake news!

We like to fry fish on occasion at Dad’s place, expecially during Birthday Season, so I set up the Facebook “check in” location as Stennis Street Fish Shack. Sunday we had us a birthday party at the Shack. Big Joe, Little Jo and myself along with my wife Danny. And, yes, we fried fish.

We also had a big ole birthday cake divided into thirds, coconut for Dad, strawberry for Rachel-Johanna, and my part was carrot. Carrot, mainly because I don’t really care for cake, so I was searching for something a little less sweet. By the time we spread the icing all over the three-tiered monstrosity it was all too super sweet for me still.

Danny and I had bought three of those number shaped candles and we stuck them on top of the cake and fired them up and they brightly read 173. I think it might have confused Dad for a moment, Little Jo too perhaps, but upon further explanation that the sum of the ages of the three of us, Big Joe, Little Jo, and me is 173, he blew them out, made the wish, and tore into slice of the coconut part of the cake with no problem.

So now with Birthday Season in full swing, and about to peak, we’ll slowly begin to wind ‘er down next week. Come February 2 the window candles that glow in the windows of the house from Thanksgiving through the end of Birthday Season will be extinguished (unplugged) and put away until fall. The giant, pink, glowing pig on the front porch, likewise will be extinguished (unplugged), and life will return to normal. Or, I suppose I should say as normal as it gets for folks that celebrate Birthday Season just like the Halloween, then Thanksgiving, and of course Christmas seasons we just enjoyed.

Cheers to another year!