Thursday, November 17, 2011


Yesterday, my fellow employees gathered around a couple of tables filled with cakes, pies and fruit and sang "Happy Birthday" to several colleagues who happened to share November birthdays. They blew out the candles together and the feasting began. Then, we went back to work. We do this every month.

How many million times a day does this ritual play out in homes and offices around the country--or the world? Celebrating birthdays is everywhere--or at least it's all over the U.S., where I live.

Also at work this week, we celebrated a birth, when an employee delivered her first child on 11/11/11--at just a few minutes before 11:11! Two photos of the beautiful boy circulated through our emailboxes.

Today is the birthday of Gordon Lightfoot, one of my favorite singer/songwriter/musicians. I spent an evening with him last week. Here's a case of celebrating the achievement of years. The man is still with us at 73, and although he doesn't sound the same, he is our treasured artist and we celebrate him every time "If You Could Read My Mind" comes on the iPod. There wasn't an empty seat at his concert last week.

The Beatles sang "You say it's your birthday..." on the White Album, and that song gets played a lot, although it is not as ubiquitous as the aforementioned little tune. There are lots of other birthday songs out there.

My wife, stepmom and older son all have birthdays in the next few weeks. That makes the Thanksgiving time especially meaningful. Also, a friend and former boss's birthday is November 27. Jeffrey Thomas, born just 10 days after Gordon Lightfoot in 1938, passed away at only 68. I used to call him on his birthday every year. I miss that--and him.

My most important birthday, I think, so far, was my 50th. That's when I began to take music seriously and got my first bass. I'm hoping -- even planning -- to have many many more.

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