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Birthday wishes, if memory works, give way to other stuff

June 1, 2008
By SANDY MICKELSON, Messenger staff writer
Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, Cynthia Elaine. Count this as your card.

That’s not really fair, I grant you, making this be your birthday card, but I’m cheap enough to try it. Happy birthday to you.

When a bunch of us who graduated together back in ’65 started eating dinner together on the fourth Wednesday of every month more than six years ago, it was important to find out one another’s birthdays. At least to me, it was. I wanted to be the one who always brought a card with sweet sentiments in it to the birthday girl.

Well, that lasted as long as it took me to leave whatever restaurant we were eating at. There’s just something about birth dates that make them fall right out of my head. The only reason I remember Cindy’s BIG 6-0 is I’ve been around for all of them, whether close to her or not. Man, she’s getting old.

Now when we EGGS — that’s Eagle Grove Girls, and it makes sense to me, but nobody else must think so because nobody else calls us that — get together, it’s not birthdays that keep us talking. No, now we talk about who hurts where and who is sick and, unfortunately, who has family who just died. It’s not that we don’t care about birthdays. We do. It’s just hard to count that high.

Sandi Jacobson Butt said the other night she thought she was either the youngest or second youngest in our class, but I had to set her straight. Mike Goater was. Unless there’s somebody else who sneaked in after his October birthday. The 20th, I think. I’ll have to remember because he’ll get testy if I don’t say happy birthday.

He doesn’t like to be forgotten. I hear from him every so often and the last often he wrote: “Will you be scheduling a regular Class of ’65 Hen Party and Barbeque this summer? I might attend.”

Well, first of all, we’ll be getting together all summer, but we decided it’s always going to be where somebody else waits on us and does the cooking and better even, cleans up after us. A summer barbecue sounds like a lot of work. A lot of fun, maybe, but a lot of work, and finding time for that would be tough.

Michael might have the time, though — he keeps it riding around in his trunk.

Some years ago, his workplace honored — yes, honored — him for sticking it out 20 years and gave him a chiming wall clock, an inexpensive battery operated chiming wall clock, to celebrate the occasion.

Michael always wants to do what I do. I went to school; he went to school. I rode a bike; he rode a bike. I went to work; he went to work. Now I’m cleaning out my basement, so he cleaned his basement, then took a box full of stuff to the “Bin of No Return.” He’s one step ahead of me there, but darn his intelligent hide, he always seemed to be a step or three ahead.

Anyway, he backs up to dump his load and his wall clock — given to him to honor him for his work, for heaven sake — chimes for its life. In perfect time with the time, too, by the way. How it got into his throw-away box, I wasn’t told, but old softie Miquel couldn’t part with something still chiming to work, so he tossed it back in the trunk and forgot about it.

A few days later, he and his wife, Annette, were driving somewhere, and the clock chimes again. She, of course, has no idea it’s in the trunk, and says, “I thought I heard a clock chime in here. Am I losing my mind?”

He smirked.

I think it’s just downright rude to let that happen to a perfectly good wife.

So long friends, until the next time when we’re together.

Contact Sandy Mickelson at (515) 573-2141 or


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