Young or old, birthdays are special days

Posted 4/8/18

I have heard the phrase "Every dog has his day." It's an interesting choice of words. One could interpret this phrase to mean several things.In April, this dog is going to have his day and I’m …

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Young or old, birthdays are special days


I have heard the phrase "Every dog has his day." It's an interesting choice of words. One could interpret this phrase to mean several things.

In April, this dog is going to have his day and I’m actually looking forward to it.

On Earth Day, April 22, I hit that magic age of 65; yes, the big one, the day I actually become a full-fledged senior citizen and have to act like an adult.

Some say birthdays are just another day of the year. I have a few friends that say they quit having birthdays; however, I see them walking, talking and accepting gifts on the day they presumed to stop having.

Veeerrry interesting!

Growing up, birthdays were special days. In the early years, it was a party with friends, cake, ice cream and presents.

My younger brother, who was and is to this day, 17 months younger than me, always got a present on my birthday, as I did on his. This was something my mom did because we were so close in age and a lot of my friends were his as well.

That part of birthdays stopped as we grew older; however, I wouldn’t mind doing that again because he is still only 17 months younger than me, and opening gifts continues to be fun, especially large packages.

As I grew into the early teenage years, kiddie parties with cake and ice cream was not necessarily the event of the year, but having a few friends over was OK, as long as they brought gifts, especially large ones, and at this age girls were definitely invited.

I remember an episode of "The 70s Show" that depicted Eric Forman, a teenager and a birthday party.

If you are not familiar with "The 70s Show," allow me to give you an overview. The show is set in the mid- to late-1970s in a fictitious little town of Point Place, Wisconsin.

There are six teenagers with nothing to do but hang out. The theme song of the show starts with the words: 

“Hanging out, down the street, the same old thing, we did last week; not a thing to do, but talk to you; not a thing to do, out in the street.”

They spend the bulk of their time in Eric’s basement smoking marijuana and having fun. 

They befriend an old hippie named Leo, who is played by Tommy Chong (from the early '70s Cheech and Chong comedy duo).

Eric’s parents are Red, a cranky former Korean War veteran who dislikes all youth, and Kitty, his wacky, silly mother.

OK, all of that to say this: Eric’s mother, in this particular episode, pretends she is not going to throw him a birthday party and he pretends not to want one since he thinks as a teenager he is too old. However, disappointed he would be if a party was not part of the evening activities.

How can you be too old for a birthday party, or any party for that matter, as long as it is over by ... say, 9 p.m.? I mean, come on, some of us do need our rest, right?

As life continues to fly by, your birthday rolls around and the ones that show the excitement are the little babies that you have brought into the world.

The handmade gifts of pictures colored just for Daddy, or the inexpensive trinkets that are given by a child with a smiling face ... there is a confidence that this is the best gift you have ever received.

When those small children grow up and produce those little blessings called grandchildren, the same gifts and excitement continue.

I remember one year, I came home on my birthday and a large handmade, colored poster was on the wall of the garage that read in huge letters, "Happy Bi-earthy Day." It was colored by little hands, with the help of a set of larger hands. 

Colors of the outdoors with trees, flowers and a large round planet Earth adorned the poster depicting Earth Day.

Being the sentimental ole cuss that I am, I gently rolled the poster up and put it away for safe keeping.

Birthdays are special days, the day you made your entrance into the world. 

You actually made someones else's day when you were slapped on the rear end and made that irritating crying sound.

My dad and mom had four boys in total, "stairsteps" as some would say.

When we were born, you actually had what was called a "Fathers Waiting Room," a place in the hospital where men paced the floor in anticipation of a new arrival.

My dad liked to tell the story of the night my younger brother was born. He, along with several other expectant fathers, were all patiently awaiting the arrival of their newborns when the doors opened and the doctor announced that Mr. Matheny had four boys.

Dad was a pretty calm man, but as he tells the story, he stared at the doctor with a  bewildered look and timidly asked, “In there?”

Words can bring on different emotions.

This birthday will be special for me. I will be in Israel, the Holy Land, on my birthday.

On April 22, I will be baptized in the Jordan River ... the same river, it is said, where John the Baptist baptized Jesus.

What a way to celebrate a special birthday!


  (About the writer:  Gary Matheny is retired after a long career in the pharmaceutical industry.  Now a Cleveland resident, he is the author of two books, "If The Shoe Fits" and "The Bullet." He also writes a popular blog, "Life Happens." Email him at and follow him at his website,


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