Forty-nine years ago "this day", as the Peeper would say, the Fire Direction Chief's mother was brought forth of a baby boy who has remained as loud, arbitrary and irascible as he was when he first emerged, red and furious, from the womb.
Along the way I've seen the sun rise over the marshes of Delaware Bay, stand tall noon over the Gulf of Fonseca and set over the Straits of Aquaba. I've held the living body of my infant son and the dead body of my infant daughter. Lost the love of a good woman and won the heart of a delightful woman, a brave companion, a tender lover and a loving mommy. I've jumped from an aircraft in flight into the rushing morning sky and seen the shadows of the night flares swinging over a burning town. I've had a life full of hope, love, joy and tenderness, a life of hate, fear, anger and regret. Just a life like any other life, but this one has been my own. It's been a pretty good life, taken altogether. I wouldn't have wanted to miss a minute.
Okay, the whole shit-burning thing on Tiger Island...yeah, I could have missed that.
But it's when that little body wriggles into the bed, in the dark of the morning, snuggling down between Mojo and me, the small warm hands patting me as if to reassure him that Daddy's there for one more day...that's when I know that I'm just as eager for that tomorrow as I was for all the yesterdays before it.
Birthday presents? Got 'em. They're probably playing with toy trains or watching "Dave and Becky" or throwing sand out of the sandbox. Where my loved ones are - that's where my happy birthday is.
Happy damn birthday to me.