Some things go away as you age. Santa. The Easter Bunny. The Tooth Fairy. These things fade into fond memories of a more innocent time. Some things, however, never truly vanish completely and even when you begin to lose sight of them, they come back to remind you.
When I was a little boy, I got new skis on my birthday. Not my first pair, of course… scandinavians generally start young. I got my first skis at around 2 years old. No, this was around the time I was 6.
On that day, I asked God for a snowstorm so I could go skiing. Well, I got it. Boy, did I get it. It snowed for 3 days straight. Ever year after that while I was growing up back in my hometown, it snowed within 48 hours of my birthday. My mom, my family, my friends… they would call it nonsense. God doesn’t give birthday presents. Still, year after year, I would return their birthday wishes with “I got my snow!”.
When I started riding Harleys, the snow stopped. I didn’t think much about it, really. Life gets busy and we start to forget the little things that make life magical. Since then, wherever I’ve been, we’ve had pretty lovely weather on my birthday and I have spent nearly every one doing what I love… riding motorcycles. I recall last year being a gorgeous day. My friends and I rode most of the afternoon and later that evening, they pulled a fast one on me and threw me a huge surprise party.
Since then, I’ve had one of the roughest years of my life. There’s no need to go into detail about that, though. It too shall pass.
This birthday is a bit different. Last year I was surrounded by the people I love. For various reasons, this year I’m all alone. Even my beloved Harley isn’t here with me. It’s still in winter storage. I was pretty disappointed when I realized that I wouldn’t be able to spend my birthday riding. I’d nearly forgotten about my birthday wishall those years ago, back when my wants and desires were quite different than they are now.
I got up this morning and went to make my coffee. It wasn’t one of my lucky days. The coffee maker went on strike again. for reasons unknown, it only functions 4 out of 5 times I turn it on. I’ll replace it when I’m frustrated enough, I suppose. Nonetheless, I cussed at it and the fact that I couldn’t even get a simple cup of coffee on my birthday. Then I grabbed Balto’s leash and went to take him outside.
Not a couple flakes, either. a whole bunch. Well, for Chicago in April, anyway. we don’t get much in the way of snow in April down here. Hardly even a few flakes, but there it was.. over an inch of fresh snow. We haven’t seen this much snow in well over a month.
My heart lit up like Broadway. We went for our walk and played in the snow and I was 6 years old again.
I was reminded that no matter what life brings me… no matter how rough it gets, I will never be truly alone.
The phone rang. It was my mother calling to sing happy birthday to me in her awful bullfrog cigarette smoke voice. She was worried, of course, about my birthday and me being all alone. I guess, to her, in some way… I’ll always be that 6-year old boy.
“Guess what, mom? It’s snowing.” I laughed.
I could never ask for a better present than this.
Thanks, Big Guy.