The story is that when I was born, my father flew his airplane over the home of a friend, cut the throttle so the plane was quiet and yelled “It’s a boy!” loud enough that the people on the ground heard him. I don’t know who the people on the ground were. I don’t even know if the story is about me. I also have heard the story told that it was when my sister was born that he did the trick, only yelling, “It’s a girl!” It seems a bit unlike our father to have done it twice. It is quite like him to have done it once. He was a pilot by profession. He flew light aircraft that were relatively quiet. He often flew low and slow, not too high above the ground. Our father is no longer alive for us to ask him the story. Whoever he yelled the news to is probably not around either. Still, it makes a good story and I’ve told it as if I was confident that it was bout my birth.

Another story about my birth that I think is accurate is that when I was born, my mother waited until the last minute to go to the hospital. Our house was right next to the hospital, so it was just a matter of going out our back yard, past our garage, and across the alley to the emergency entrance of the hospital. At any rate, the nurse had called the doctor, and was helping my mother settle in when I was born. I didn’t wait for the doctor to arrive. My mother told me that story several times and she often did so as she commented about the fact that I have always enjoyed getting up early in the morning.

Some people like to sleep in as a special birthday treat. I’ve never wanted to spend my birthday in bed. I like to get up and do things. As I age, I don’t seem to have gotten much better at sleeping. If I’ve averaged 8 hours a day of sleep, which seems like as good a guess as any, I’ve spent one third of my life sleeping, which comes to 22.67 years at this point in my life. That seems like enough to me so that if I occasionally miss a few minutes of sleep I have plenty of sleep in reserve.

Here is something I do know: when I was born my parents were glad to have a son born to them. The family, prior to my birth, consisted of my father, my mother, and three sisters. There were plenty of females in the family and I was the first little boy. The novelty probably wore off by the time our family was complete. There were three brothers born after I came into the world. I don’t know the significance of being the first boy, but it has always been a privileged position in the family for me. When I was a child, I got lots of time with my father. He would often take me to work with him at the airport. I loved going to the airport and being in his office and his shop. His office was filled with maps and the shop was filled with airplanes. I am the only one of my siblings who learned to fly with our father as my instructor. I got my pilot’s license after taking formal lessons with him, but that followed so many years of flying with him that it seemed to me like he had always been teaching me to fly.

When I started to seriously date my wife, I came into a privileged position in her family. She grew up the oldest of three girls. Her father was the only male in the family. Even the cat and the dog were female. When she became serious about me, I was warmly welcomed into the family. Her mother and father always treated me very well. I often say that it was because I was the first son in their family, too.

Whenever my birthday lands on a Sunday it falls on Father’s Day. Before I became a father, I thought it was a special treat to occasionally share the day with my father. After I became a father the day is even more meaningful to me. I like being occasionally able to “double dip” with two holidays on the same day.

As far as I can remember, I’ve always looked forward to my birthday and enjoyed the day. Last year my birthday landed on a Monday. It was my first day of retirement. Technically, I was employed to the end of the month, but I had saved two weeks of vacation so my last official day of work was June 14, 2020. I’ve still not fully adjusted to being retired, but it seems like a kind of a milestone to have come to this day one year later.

I have friends around the world. Right now it is late afternoon in Melbourne, Australia. That means that I got birthday greetings from a friend who lives there before I went to bed last night. I had already received cards and posts on social media from other friends as well. Part of the fun of the day is that birthday greetings stir good memories of good friends. I have a good friend whose birthday is the day before mine and another whose birthday is the day after mine, so I always think of them at this time of the year. Both of those friends have devoted their lives to the ministry, so we have lots in common to share when we are together. When we are together, I joke about the dividing line between youth and enthusiasm, and old age and experience, falling between us. Since I have a friend who is a day younger and another who is a day older than I, I can be the young one or the old one depending on which friend I am with.

So today will be a good day for me. A day to note that I am now 68 years old, which seems like a good age to be.

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