Tag Archives: Hearts

Happy Birthdays

Here it is, dudes, almost mid-August once again, and once again we only have to celebrate the one birthday.

For more than four decades, I’d know that, come Aug. 10 and Aug. 11, it was time to celebrate both my mom’s and my sister’s birthday.

Mom loved to tell the story about how when she was in labor with Tia, the doctor offered to get her to go faster so the two of them could share the same birthday. Mom, who’d already been dealing with me for almost two years and knew what a treasure alone time was, told the doctor, “No, way. I don’t want to have to share my birthday.”

And so Tia was born just after the turn of the day from Aug. 10 to Aug. 11.

We no longer celebrate Mom’s birthday, except in rather quiet and private ways. Moments of silence, unnoticed among the tumult and hubbub of general life. Aug. 10 comes and goes these days, but there’s no one to share it with, except in our hearts and our minds.

So, here I am, thinking happy birthday to you, Mom. I miss you.

Ah, but in the immortal words of some country Bard, when thinking about Tia, all I can come up with is, “How can I miss you when you won’t go away.”

Kidding, kiddo. Kidding.

Considering what a brat she started out as, she’s come an amazingly long way toward general civility. And I mean that in a good way. Or at least as good as it has to be considering she and I don’t live in the same house, the same state any more. I’m feeling safe, is what I’m saying.

Well, safe enough to get mouthy at any rate.

No, Tia is a great lady. I hope she’ll take it as a compliment if I tell her that she’s turning out to be a lot like our mom. Although why I got the gene that forces me to tell the same stories over and over again, I just don’t understand.

Tia and her husband, The Teaching Dutchman, are raising a fine pair of children, who show great taste and class when they get so excited just because their uncle is coming around.

She’s not just a mom and wife (though I’m leaving that one out of the discussion, really.), she’s also a pretty good person as well. Tia’s got a fantastic laugh, a sharp knife for puncturing pomposity and a willingness to drag her family along to do things they’ve never done before.

This post was set to be published at one minute to midnight Aug. 10, so we can have it span the two days. They might not have shared birthdays, but I’m glad they’re sharing all of our lives.

Happy birthday.

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Put A Little Love In Your Life

Yes, dudes, it’s Valentine’s Day. I sure hope you have already purchased/made/found the right gift for your loved one, the gift that says exactly how you feel and will be accurately understood as such.

And, yes, I also know that Valentine’s Day is a creepily commercial holiday designed to force people to spend unFSMly amounts of money on chocolate and flowers and cards and gifts and all that stuff just so they can say they love/like/don’t actively plot to kill someone.

So, yes, I did go out and buy stuff for She Who Must Be Made Aware Of My Undimmed Ardor. Yes, we did purchase cards to send to children, nephews, nieces, aunts, uncles, parents, step-parents and all like that.

Sure there should  be a boycott of the whole silly thing, but, brother, I ain’t the dude to lead that futile bit of fluff which will, ultimately, only make its leaders look like idiots.

Even with the commercial aspect of all this. . . You know what? I really don’t mind it.

You can and should tell your loved ones every single day that you do love them, that they mean the world to you and you would hardly be able to go on without them. Or words to that effect. That’s something that every right-thinking individual should do on a more-than-daily basis.

But that sometimes doesn’t happen. I think it’s nice that there’s a day set aside for love. A day designed (in theory) explicitly to make it easier to express the love we feel toward another person.

That and I love getting chocolates. So there’s that.

Of course, I think the whole thing has become overblown to an appalling extent, but that’s what happens with most things in America that stand a small chance of actually making some company somewhere some amount of money. More hoopla, more money. It’s the way it goes.

Which doesn’t mean it’s all wrong.

So, whether or not you’ve bought into the prevailing zeitgeist and purchased something big and expensive or simply took the time to walk up behind your loved one and wrap an arm around his/her shoulders and whisper that she/he is loved, enjoy it.

Realize that love, however and wherever you find it, is a rare and precious thing that should always be celebrated. Even if it means you have to dress in silk underwear with red hearts printed on it.

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Ook, Ook To The Monkey Boy

by Richard

Look out, world. Today is the day Zippy the Monkey Boy turns 18.

It’s the day he’s been looking forward to for a long, long time. He likes to think that, just because the law considers him an adult now, that he’ll be treated like an adult here at Casa de Dude.

His mom and I don’t like to disillusion him* about stuff like this, but he’s really not going to be treated as if he’s a house guest. Okay, we’ll probably not cut up his food and wipe his mouth for him, but he’s still a kid in our hearts.

At least until he’s the one who pays for dinner when we go out, but that’s a separate thing entirely.

Today, we come to praise Zippy the Monkey Boy, not to bury him.

With a name like Zippy the Monkey Boy, you’d think he was the one who was always running around, knocking things over and flinging poop all over the walls. He was. But that wasn’t why he got the name. He got the name because he took to climbing like greased-up pigs take to sliding.

He never did learn to crawl. Instead, he kept low crawling until he could stand up and walk. He wanted the extra height, you see.

Once he got up on two feet, it was only a matter of time until he started seeing the fences and stuff we’d put up around the play area, not as a thing blocking his way so he’d better turn around, but as another toy, something we put there so he could have fun climbing and dropping.

That was what we listened to when he was a baby. That thump. We’d hear it and know he’d found his way over another obstacle and we should be expecting his arrival any moment. Diapers were a wonderful thing for Zippy the Monkey Boy. Great cushion. Of course, if it were already a full diaper before he climbed and dropped, we got to clean a lot of flung stuff after.

He’s kept it up. One of my favorite pictures of him shows him high up in a tree, screaming out his triumph for having climbed that high. He was 15 when we took that picture. He likes to climb is what I’m saying.

His other most distinguishing feature through the years has been his love of animals. This is a little dude that has wanted to be a zoologist since he knew someone could actually tell people he was going to study animals all his life and people would be okay with it. Now he’s going off to one of the best marine science schools in the country so he can make the study of sharks his life work. If nothing else, it shows he’s able to find a goal and stick with it.

Zippy the Monkey Boy is getting ready to head off to Wilmington to try his act out down there, along the beaches, among the co-eds and out on his (metaphorical) own. Sure I’m worried.

But only a little. I have the feeling Zippy the Monkey Boy is going to keep on climbing, always reaching for something just out of his reach and finding a way to get it and then seeing the next thing just a little higher up.

It’s been an adventurous 18 years. I can’t wait to see what the next 18 bring.

Ook, Ook, Zip.

*no, that’s a lie. We love disillusioning him. It’s such fun.

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