Tuesday, January 15, 2013

They Say It's Your Birthday

Sixty-two years ago today in the back of a three-room camp house in Sloss Hollow, I was born into this world.
Doctor Baker, who lived close enough to our house that you could have knocked his living room window out with a sling shot, bundled up on that gray morning, and walked the few hundred yards to my parent's house and brought me kicking and screaming into the world with a slap.
Some people feel they were born too late, and others too soon, but I feel I was born at precisely the right time.
I was a child of the 50s, and came of age during the turbulent 60s. The vortex of the civil rights movement was in Alabama and one of the turning points was the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham which is not 30 miles from where I was born. It's not a time most people here of proud of, but I like to think we learned from it.
I was among some of the last Americans to get drafted into the Army. The year before I was draft eligible, they developed a lottery system. They put all the days of the year into a basket and drew them out one by one. The order in which you were drafted depended on what order your birthday was drawn out of the basket.
The first year my number was so high that I felt emboldened, and instead of trying to get a college deferment, I blew it off and said, "I'm lucky, they'll never draft me."
The next year when I became eligible, my number was something like 17. A few weeks later I got the letter from Uncle Sam in my mailbox. "You've been selected by your friends and neighbors to serve in the Armed Forces of the United States of America."
I never did figure out which of my friends or neighbors ratted me out to Uncle Sam.
At any rate, I made it through the military and after I came home, I hooked back up with my high school sweetheart and we married the next year.
I managed to land a job that paid for my education, and I worked with technology. The company trained me on how to work on computers long before there were computers in everyone pocket.
These days the velocity of change seems to be accelerating at a staggering pace. The more I learn, the further behind I seem to fall.
But I'm sitting here tonight tapping keys on my computer, and when I hit update, people from all over the world will be able to read what's on my mind tonight.
Even though it's only about 10 miles as a crow flies from where I was born, it seems that I'm spending my 62 birthday lightyears from where I started.


  1. Happy 62nd Birthday. You lived history. It amazes me that the 50's and 60's are now mid century modern. We lived those days and now the 'stuff' is collectable (my thing). Love reading your posts every day. Learn something each time.

  2. A very happy birthday to you! We are of the same vintage (I'll be 60 later this year) and it always amazes me how technology has sped up over the decades. And as Joy (above) commented, a lot of the stuff I fondly remember as integral items of childhood are now considered "antiques." So irritating...
    Hope you had a wonderful day -

  3. Happy Birthday, Rick! I do believe we were born in the same year...vintage I believe they call this! ;)
    It is amazing how much we've changed and yet sad how some things still need a lot more shakin' and bakin' to make the world a better place. I miss the '60's feeling of lets get it done.
    As far as the antiques...my next door neighbor used to be an antique dealer and she says anything that is over 50 years gets to be classified as antique.


  4. Happy Birthday, Rick. You have had a good and interesting life. I was 62 last March and I know what you mean about learning - there is so much to learn and little time to do it.

    I've always been glad of the time I was born too. I feel sorry for the coming generations who must face global warming and the terrible weather conditions it is bringing now and in the future.

  5. Very well written, Rick.

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ya ol' coot.

  6. Happy Birthday!

  7. Once more happy birthday and great post!

  8. Anonymous4:57 AM

    Wishing you a delightful birthday! Thanks also for serving our country. I grew up north of Atlanta and am continually amazed at the growth in this area. Through blogging, it has been a tremendous blessing to communicate with folks from all over the world. Something I would never have dreamed of when I was growing up in the 60's.

  9. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    What a wonderful life you've had, are having and will have yet! :-)

    Take care

  10. Happy Birthday Rick! I hope today brings you much love, laughter and happiness!

  11. HAPPY BIRTHDAY sir. I am very happy to have discovered your blog a couple of weeks back and I look forward to reading your future posts.

  12. Happy Birthday. You are old enough to know better but still young enough to enjoy living. I hope it is a great day for you and Jilda!

  13. I thought that it was your birthday just a few days ago, in any case Happy Birthday Rick. I hope that you have a great birthday. You are younger than me. I love your story, always very interesting.

  14. Happy Birthday, Rick,
    62 is a nice age and a wonderful birth story. People are lucky to be born at home and I count myself among the lucky.
    Each year upon this earth is a celebration.

  15. Happy Birthday to you! I am just a couple years ahead of you so am familiar with all the things you mentioned. And thank you for serving our country.

  16. Hello Rick and thanks you for visiting my blog because it led me to yours. I really enjoyed reading about the first 62 years of your wonderful & interesting life, which reminds me, Happy Birthday. May there be many, many more stories to add to it. Have a great day...Cheers from the Land Down Under!

  17. Happy Birthday from another January baby. You must have had some interesting experiences growing up during the time that you did. Thank you for sharing whats on your mind.

  18. Thanks all for your kind words.


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