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My Golden Year

An observant friend told me that this year is my golden year, since it is my 28th year and my birthday is on the 28th day of the month. I can find little reason to believe otherwise, as this has been one of the most special and memorable birthdays to date.

The celebration began with a family dinner at Acropolis Greek Tavern in Ybor City, honoring a trio of birthdays: Dad's, Anna's, and mine. In everyone's thoughts, as well, was Aunt Bonnie, whose birthday was the 24th. As such gatherings have become more infrequent in my adult years, I find that they have come to epitomize the true joys in life. Amidst the belly dancing, the food-igniting, the loud band-playing, and the napkin showers (they literally throw packages of perfectly good napkins all over the restaurant in random celebration), I will remember with fondness the genuine delight in simply sharing each other's company, even (and especially) if it required ineffective cross-talking and awkward seat-hopping in order to visit with everyone.

The next evening my friends from school arranged a celebration at a local and favorite pub, Four Green Fields. In typical graduate student fashion, everyone showed up much later than I did, save for one man I didn't know well or even recognize until he told me his name. That called for an immediate vodka and cranberry. Eventually, people I knew trickled in and and we moved the gathering outside, where I bumped into an old crush. The company and the evening couldn't have been better; I even have a hazy memory of an Irish birthday tribute sung to me by the band. I was holding my own after a couple of mixed drinks, and then the shot came that knocked me on the floor--specifically, on the floor of the bathroom stall I had entered and remained in for long enough to cause concern in my friends. They managed to drag me back out to the party where I managed to sit for a few seconds before standing to hurl over the bushes (lukily I think I'd gotten most of it out in the bathroom, so the bushes probably only received dry heaves). It happens. Jessica and Curt, bless them, drove me home--a fun-filled trip for them, I'm sure, as I was in no condition to give adequate directions or even open my eyes. Once inside, I stumbled onto my bed and awoke the next morning to a note from Jessica that she'd taken my key so she could lock me in. Do friends get any better than this?

As a sort of finale to the birthday celebration, I came into work on Tuesday, the actual day of my birthday, to an office filled with note cards dangling on ribbons from the ceiling. I was soon aware that my coworkers were standing right behind me snapping photos of my reaction--which was a mixture of shock, joy, and general overwhelmedness. Deedra, my supervisor, had secretly requested that everyone employed in the department (about 300+ people) write a birthday message on a card she provided, and then submit them to her in time to string and hang in my office on the big day. After the commotion of opening my office door died down, I took a few moments to read the cards and began quietly sobbing at the amount of kindness and thought that was put into this very memorable surprise. It was the best honor I could have ever dreamed of receiving. To top it off, Deedra and another coworker, Nancy, had baked an apple pie each, which the office staff delightedly devoured later in the day.

From Birthday 2008

Comments

I'm so sorry I wasn't able to come out with catie, but I'm elated to hear that you had a great birthday both with family and co-workers!
Lee Davidson said…
I guess it's payback for missing yours :) You were definitely missed!
A Grateful Girl said…
How cool! They must really love you at work! You of course know we love you so much! Happy golden year!

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