Birthdays in the time of Facebook

I was born in 1967, forty-three years ago today. My memories are pasted with images of backyard celebrations, of elaborate cakes filled with money wrapped in tin-foil, and the exhilaration of getting the bumps-the number getting larger each year. The photographs capture the change in styles, from the plaid pants of the mid-seventies to the shaggy hair as the eighties neared.

Who could have imagined the shape of birthdays four decades down the road? Wishes began pouring in early this morning, first from the east, two hours ahead, and then further and further west as the day proceeded. Wishes came from old friends, new friends, and a whole bunch of people I've never met-people who have become strangely familiar as we observe each others' lives from our perch in front of the computer monitor.

One greeting came from Kyla Eiffert, whose grandmother was our next door neighbor-Mrs. Bloudoff. Kyla is married to Archie who is celebrating his 43rd birthday today, too. Also born in Kamsack, Archie was likely in the bassinet to my left.


Another greeting came from Michelle in Red Deer. Our families have been friends as long as either of us can remember. Her brother Michael was a buddy from my youth who left us way too early, dying of cancer a number of years ago. His resting place is just up the path from my grandparents in the Kamsack Cemetery. Michael is the fellow in the glasses to my right at what appears to be my 10th or 11th birthday.


Some of the greetings were short and simple, others were clever and creative. Most were from across Canada while others originated from points further south. All were sent with positive thoughts and the best of intentions.

Many things have changed about birthdays since my grandma held my brother Greg while I blew out the candles in 1973, but some things remain absolutely the same: the taste of a good cake, being surrounded by joyful friends, and basking in the rousing renditions of the Happy Birthday song, each sounding completely different than the other.

It is just about 8:30 pm and 150 messages have come in so far. Crazy and wonderful! Thanks for a great day.

June 11, 2010 - 194.6 pounds, 33.4% body fat

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