Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me.....

Crash! Bang! Kerpow! Either it's the Fourth of July again, or all the aerosol cans in my garage are exploding.

The Fourth of July brings a multitude of fond memories to me, not only in a patriotic sense, but also because it happens to be my birthday as well. Even having to bear with such comments as, "You must be a real firecracker," I'm glad I share my day with such a prestigious holiday. At least I'm not easily forgotten. A birthday on January sixteenth can• slip by unnoticed, but who can forget the Fourth of July? (Besides my mother's maiden aunt who also forgets to send me Christmas cards).

When I was a kid, I naturally assumed that all the fanfare from parades to fireworks was all done in my honor, and it was a big shock to me at about age eight to realize that 15 of us were celebrating my birthday and the rest of the world could care less.

My sister, likewise, thought all the hullabaloo was in my honor and it really bugged her. After all, on her birthday she only got cake and ice cream and a new pair of shoes, but I got a parade, a picnic, fireworks and a new bathing suit. (Even discounting all the rest, she'd have been happy to trade her shoes for the bathing suit).

One year she really got in a tiff about the whole thing and, instead of going down to the corner to watch the annual parade with us, she locked herself in the bathroom. "It's not fair!" she wailed. "Just one time I'd like to see them have a parade for my birthday."

That was the year I learned the horrible truth, as my mother tried to patiently explain to both of us what the Fourth of July really meant and get us down to the corner before we missed the parade. Small town parades have a way of passing swiftly and every second was precious.

Disappointment loomed larger than life for me, although my sister was now delighted, and I found that the parade didn't have the same magic anymore. In fact, I considered locking myself in the bathroom for a good cry.

Now that I am a grown woman of some maturity, although that point is debatable at times, I have learned to be more pragmatic in my approach to my birthday. But the child in me would still like to walk down to the corner to see the parade and I always get goose-bumps when I hear "Yankee Doodle Dandy" on the radio.

So here's to the child in both of us, America, "Happy Birthday.”


Maryann Miller -- a writer, editor and sentimental patriot.

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  1. Happy Birthday Maryann! Woo-woo!!

    My birthday is near Christmas - which meant I got one present. "Happy Birthday. Here is your birthday/Christmas present." woo-woo.

    Doesn't bother me now. Not a bit. Nada. Nope......

  2. Happy Birthday. Maryann. It must have been great fun when you were a kid to think a whole parade (with fireworks) was in your honor.

    I am also a sentimental patriot, so I especially appreciated this post.

  3. My birthday often lands on Thanksgiving, so you can imagine what they call me!

    Happy birthday to you! Let's all sing!

    Okay, have used up three- exclamation-point annual allotment on you. ;)



  4. Happy Birthday!

    Both my sisters were born New Year's Eve...6 years apart.
    Think about my younger sister...not only is her birthday celebrated by everyone, but she has to share it with my older sister.
    And I have an in-law born on Halloween. Creepy.
    I have a friend from college born on Feb 29. He's 40+ but he's only had 10 birthdays.

  5. It's my husband's birthday today as well. He's turned thirty, like I did back on Valentine's Day.

    Yeah, that's how we roll. ;)

    Here's hoping your days has to do with lots of sparklers and not so many mosquitoes!


  6. Hi Kathryn,

    Great article. Having a hook, schtick, or gimmick is vital to separate oneself from the masses. My gimmick is incorporating breakthroughs in science that mankind is right on the cusp of discovering.

    Best wishes to your success.

    Steve Tremp

  7. Happy Birthday and Happy 4th!

    What a fun day to have a birthday on!

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  8. Thanks everyone for the birthday wishes. Much appreciated. It really does cast a different light on a birthday when it is shared with a holiday, but I'm glad mine is the Fourth of July and not Christmas. That would really be a downer. And I am so glad that you are mature about your attitude now, Helen. :-)

  9. Belated birthday wishes - hopefully you are still celebrating. Nothing wrong with making a Big Fat Fuss on your birthday, I say (especially if it winds a sister up as it always has in my case... eat your heart out, my kid sister!).

  10. When I was kid, a hundred years ago, there were no Fourth of July parades so I organized my own. Got all the kids to decorate their bikes and wagons and we traipsed all around the neighborhood.

    And Helen, we had a son born on the 28th of December so for years we celebrated his birthday on the 28th of June. That way he could have a regular birthday party. When he was about 16 he told us he was old enough to celebrate his birthday at the right time.

    Marilyn a.k.a. F. M. Meredith.

  11. I love this post. It's so very, very cute and real.

    My birthday falls on inauguration day and I like to pretend that at least some of the hoopla is for me! What the heck.

  12. I'm a Thanksgiving person myself, and celebrations at that time of year in Alaska consist of ice skating parties on the pond out back.

    Great story, nice hook, nice connections. I particularly liked how you wove your sister into it, locked bathroom door and all.

  13. Thanks to all of you who visited the blog over the weekend and left kind words about my post. I'm always so glad to know that people are enjoying some of the nonsense I come up with.

    Marilyn, I love that you made your own Fourth of July parade. I should do that here. The little town we are closest to does not do a parade.


The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.


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